Fighting poverty with jobs

If women’s economic empowerment is what we do, women’s entrepreneurship is how we do it. That means training millions of members to run their own microbusinesses. In other words, it means jobs.

Hand in Hand creates jobs in four sequential stages. Group savings and skills training, the first two, aren’t rare. Nor for that matter is microfinance, the third. But where other organisations focus on one or two of these elements, Hand in Hand combines all three – then adds a fourth by connecting entrepreneurs to larger markets.

Jobs break the cycle of dependency, empowering women to speak up and make decisions for themselves and their families. They also help families absorb shocks such as a bad harvest or unexpected medical bill, laying a foundation that supports generations. For every job we create and grow, an average of family members benefit. That’s more children in school, more parents with access to life-saving medicine and more families with sturdy roofs over their heads.

Our job creation model


Step one: setting up Self-Help Groups

First we create Self-Help Groups who support each other, save together and learn together. Time and again, they go on to launch businesses together, too. Nine out of 10 of our members are women. The rest are their husbands, brothers or fathers – allies in the fight for women’s economic empowerment, be it by temperament or training. All 20 or so Self-Help Group members contribute to group savings funds at every bi-weekly meeting. More on that in Step Three.


Step two: business training

Once a Self-Help Group is stable, with its savings fund firmly in place, we train members to discover and develop small businesses with modules in basic bookkeeping, business development, marketing and more. If they need it, we also provide training in vocational skills such as poultry farming or tailoring, among others. Illiterate members are taught to read, or trained using pictures, parables and songs.


Step three: access to credit

Group savings funds finance most of our members’ new businesses. In cases where they need more than they can borrow internally, we train members in credit management and provide access to microloans, typically worth about US $200, funded by us or a partner. With Self-Help Groups acting as guarantors, average repayment rates network-wide sit comfortably above 99 percent. In Afghanistan, where credit is taboo, we provide toolkits containing business inputs instead. 

Step four: links to larger markets

Hand in Hand wants our members to thrive, now and tomorrow. That’s why, as a last step, we link them to larger markets, plug them into value chains, help them source cheaper supplies and more. Scaling up doesn’t just help our members provide for their families – it keeps their businesses sustainable long into the future.

Download our strategic plan

Find out where we’re headed, and how we plan to get there. Our strategic plan covers the period from 2017 to 2021.

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Our partners

We’re working with partners to create 250,000 jobs in a growing list of countries. Find out who, and where.

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Independent reviews

Our donors rightly demand results, backed by hard evidence. Click below to read independent, third-party reviews of our work in Kenya and India.

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Talk to us about our approach

Institutions & foundations

Amalia Johnsson Deputy CEO

Amalia heads up our programme development team. Before joining Hand in Hand she was Programme Manager at Plan International UK, spent several years at the OECD and worked in finance.
Tel: +44 (0)7508 075 601