How Hand in Hand paints the picture of entrepreneurship

Hand in Hand fights poverty with business and skills training, empowering young people to work their own way out of poverty – for good, and without continued intervention. No shortage of obstacles face these young entrepreneurs, but for a certain subset – rural girls and women in particular – illiteracy and innumeracy are among the most pernicious. How best to explain sophisticated concepts such as profit and loss, economies of scale and the value of a solid business plan to young women who can’t read or write? Hand in Hand uses parables, stories, illustrations and songs.

Hand in Hand International’s systems approach to youth job creation

Hand in Hand’s systems approach to job creation

In 10 developing countries from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, Hand in Hand has helped almost 2 million people start their own small businesses, creating more than 2.8 million jobs. Hundreds of thousands of those jobs have been created and filled by young people.

The specifics of Hand in Hand’s model vary according to local context and member demographics. By and large, however, they follow the same wide-ranging and integrated systems approach.

  • First, Hand in Hand creates Self-Help Groups made up of 20 or so young people who support each other, save together and learn together.
  • Once a group is stable, with its savings fund firmly in place, Hand in Hand trains members to discover and develop small businesses with modules in basic bookkeeping, business development, marketing and more.
  • Group savings funds help finance most new businesses, but when members need more than they can borrow internally, Hand in Hand provides credit management training and access to microfinance.
  • As a final step, Hand in Hand helps established young entrepreneurs thrive by plugging them into value chains and helping them find larger markets.

Entrepreneurship training breaks the cycle of dependency, enabling young people to fend for themselves and contribute to public finances. With their increased incomes, they are able to pay for better nutrition, sanitation, education and more at home.



Meet Emmy Kibong


Emmy Kibogong’s career was over before it had a chance to begin. Forced out of secondary school because her parents couldn’t afford the fees, the native of Nakuru, Kenya found herself bouncing from one casual job to the next.

“Life was not easy,” says Emmy, 25. “I was forced to work at construction sites and farms to raise an income and take care of my child.”

Things started to improve after she joined Hand in Hand, an NGO that taught her savings and entrepreneurship skills, then helped her launch her own microbusiness by providing a low-cost, flexible loan.

“After being trained on how to save and start a business, I used my savings of KES 800 (US $8) to start a green grocery business selling tomatoes, onions, other vegetables and fruit,” Emmy explains. “In order to keep my business growing, I applied for a loan of KES 5,000 (US $50) from Hand in Hand, which I used to add stock to my shop in order to meet the growing demand from customers. As a result, I realised a profit of KES 2,500, (US $25) which I saved in my personal account.”

With a little help from Hand in Hand, Emmy has almost doubled her income, moving from KES 2,500 (US $25) to KES 4,000 (US$40) a month. But she has no plans to stop there.

“I have fully settled the loan and I have recently applied for a second loan of KES 20,000 (US $200) to help me expand even further,” she says.

Business development support targeted at the bottom of the pyramid

Peace Child International (PCI)’s Be the Change Academy (BTCA) provides free business development support to vulnerable young women in LEDCs – young women who have never been to school, who are illiterate with no obvious skills to secure employment. Currently, it is being run in different contexts across West Africa. In Guinea, it targets young women in the capital Conakry who are working as wandering sellers, often borrowing stock to sell on credit and barely turning a profit. In Sierra Leone, it works in a rural area with illiterate women from poor families who have some assets, such as cows and land.


Peace Child International Be the Change Academy approach

The BTCA Methodology

The BTCA programme is a step-by-step approach that aims to support young women to undertake market research, develop business ideas, choose one they are confident they can run profitably, and then develop a viable business plan. Because PCI’s target-beneficiaries are largely illiterate, the BTCAs use an integrated packet of image-based training tools and games to train and support them. At the same time, coaching aims to support them to decide for themselves what they want to do. Trainees are taught strategies to tackle the market/economic, political/legal, environmental, technological, managerial and social/cultural aspects that every business faces. The BTCAs support young people to analyse different locally available options for funding their business, be they local micro-finance institutions, local saving groups, their own savings or borrowing from family.

Mangee Williams


The BTCA training taught Mangee about the financial side of being an entrepreneur: paying staff, calculating profits, and accumulating savings for her catering business. “It was through the Academy that I got my first US$200 loan to buy cooking equipment and begin marketing the business, distributing flyers to potential customers. They also helped me win some big contracts, including a deal to cater for 100 people a day on an NGO training course. I was cooking for three weeks, and employed 10 people,” says Mangee.  “This year I expect to have made close to US$5,000 in personal savings and the business turnover should be around US$12,000.”

Her success is transforming her family’s quality of life. “When I took my first pay, I went into town and bought my children books, bags, uniforms and shoes. I am proud I can now give money to my children and even my husband.” And her ambition is growing: “First, I want to open a good restaurant.  I am already in the process as I have secured a piece of land. After that, I would like to expand to open a chain of restaurants. Most, I am pleased to be changing lives and helping people achieve more.”


Raleigh International – Asha Mwapanga

Raleigh International offers entrepreneurship & business training as part of its delivery of DFID’s Intl. Citizen Service Entrepreneurship programme. Asha Mwapinga, a graduate of the programme in Lusitu Village,  Tanzania – offers this personal assessment of the value of the training provided:

“I quickly used the skills I gained from the Raleigh training course by creating my own business plan for selling milk. I was successfully selected to receive start-up capital and I raised extra funds from my family which enabled me to buy a cow. Six weeks later, the cow gave birth and I started to earn money.  The cow gives me six litres of milk per day, which I sell for TZS 1,000 per litre. I spend half of this TZS 6000 on the household and save the other half.

“The most interesting part of the training I received from Raleigh related to finance and budgeting skills. Using those skills, I set up a second business after a month to sell chips and soft drinks which earns me an additional TZS 5,000 per day. I am now conducting more market surveys and research in my village and am confident that I can expand my business in the future.”

DFID’s KUZA project

DFID’s KUZA project is a three-year youth employment programme in Mombasa County, Kenya that works with business, government and community-based organisations to identify and act on opportunities for ‘win-win’ outcomes that reduce poverty. It works at both the supply side of the labour market, helping 8,000 young people improve their employability skills, and at the demand side, supporting the creation of 5,000 employment opportunities. Kea Hamisi Athmani said: “One of the valuable lessons I learnt at Kuza is how to save. It’s how I’ve been able to finance the plastering work in my new shop. I’ve also bought a second hand computer and now give computer lessons to other young people in Mombasa.”

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