Hand in Hand International

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Hand in Hand International
Founded 2006
Type Non-governmental organization
Focus Job and business creation, Reduce Poverty, Economic and Social Empowerment, Women
Area served
India, Afghanistan, Kenya, Rwanda, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Cambodia and Myanmar
Key people
Percy Barnevik and Dr Kalapana Sankar, founders
Website www.hihinternational.org

Hand in Hand International is a registered non-profit organisation based in London since 2006.[1][2] Hand in Hand International is part of the Hand in Hand network, whose shared vision is to fight poverty through job and business creation. Hand in Hand was founded by Percy Barnevik[3][4] and Dr Kalpana Sankar.[5][6]

Hand in Hand’s mission is to work for economic and social empowerment of the poorest and most marginalized people by supporting the development of businesses and jobs.[7][8] Since 2003, the Hand in Hand network has helped start and sustain 1.3 million businesses and has generated 1.9 million jobs. The goal is to create 10 million jobs.[2][9][10] Hand in Hand works within the same field as BRAC, Opportunity International, CARE, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Aga Khan Foundation.


Hand in Hand was founded in 2003 by Percy Barnevik[11][12] and Dr Kalpana Sankar,[13][14] in the south-east Indian state of Tamil Nadu.[15] The Hand in Hand group currently operates programs in ten countries across Asia (Afghanistan, India, Cambodia and Myanmar), East of Africa (Kenya and Rwanda) and South of Africa (Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe).

Hand in Hand receives funding from a number of different sources including individuals, corporations, bi-lateral and multi-lateral institutions and trusts and foundations. Recent supporters include the FMO, Sida, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Citizenship Trust, Nationale Postcode Loterij and Voxtra (philanthropic foundation based in Oslo, Norway). Hand in Hand Afghanistan also received a US $1.16 million (€840 K) grant from the European Union.[16]

In 2007, Hand in Hand Afghanistan was set up with Seema Ghani as chair.[17] On the 19th of February 2014, Ghani gave an interview with the BBC about the economic challenges facing Afghanistan and how job creation, will help solve many of the challenges.[18] Ghani also gave an interview regarding the positive effect micro-businesses have on Afghanistan to Forbes Magazine.[19]

Since 2011, Hand in Hand has organised an annual Social Enterprise Program (SEP).[20] This course showcases the role of social entrepreneurs in reducing poverty.

As of 2013, Hand in Hand International's board of trustees is composed of Percy Barnevik, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Dr Mahdvi Chanrai, Paola Uggla, Bruce Grant, Jonas af Jochnick, Dr Rita Rakus MBBS, Lars G Josefsson, Lars G Josefsson and Paola Uggla.[21]

In 2013, Hand in Hand launched the Enterprise Incubation Fund (EIF), through which philanthropists can provide loans to micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya.[22]

Hand in Hand Network[edit]

The organizations within the Hand in Hand group actively support each other, although they are independent and each organization has its own governance and management structure as well as strategic plan. Each organization is represented by its CEO on the HIH Global Council. The Global Council coordinates policy and activities across the Hand in Hand network.

Today, the Hand in Hand network extends to:

  • Hand in Hand India[23][24]
  • Hand in Hand Southern Africa[25]
  • East Africa|Hand in Hand Eastern Africa[8][26]
  • Hand in Hand Afghanistan[27][28][29]
  • Hand in Hand International[30]

The network has support and fundraising offices in London, Stockholm and Boston.[31]

Job Creation Model[edit]

The Hand in Hand network uses a comprehensive business creation model, initially developed by HiH India,[32] to fight poverty.[33][34] There are four interlinked elements that deliver the Hand in Hand approach:

  1. Social mobilization: Hand in Hand helps organize people, mostly women, into Self-Help Groups (SHGs), who meet weekly with their trainers to discuss social issues and activities and together they begin to save money, learn financial discipline and build up a group savings fund for which they are jointly responsible.[35]
  2. Business training: Once a group has demonstrated stability and financial responsibility, Hand in Hand provides business training in how to start, grow and sustain a small business enterprise and become an entrepreneur.[36]
  3. Credit access: Most groups hold joint savings in local savings accounts and learn how to manage these. Should financial resources be required beyond group members’ own savings, members would be trained in credit management and offered small loans, either directly or through partners active in their area.
  4. Market linkage support: Hand in Hand provides support in improving productivity and competitiveness, including advice on better packaging, pricing and branding; cheaper sourcing of supplies; quality control; reliable delivery; and more effective identification of buyers and negotiations with them.


Globally, in the past 10 years, Hand in Hand has generated over 1.3 million businesses 1.9 million jobs. An independent report in 2012 on the Hand in Hand program confirmed that 97.4% of the jobs are sustainable.[37][38]

To date, Hand in Hand Afghanistan has enabled 14,000 people to join groups as a first step to working their way out of poverty and has generated over 5,000 jobs in rural, remote parts of the country where these jobs are much needed.[19][37][39] Hand in Hand Eastern Africa has generated 138.120 jobs, and Hand in Hand Southern Africa 128.171. Finally, since the start in 2003 Hand in Hand India has generated 1.65 million jobs.[40] In most countries in which the network operates, Hand in Hand has achieved sizeable reach with its Self-Help Groups,in comparison to other established NGOs.[41]


  1. ^ "Who we are". Hand in Hand International website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  2. ^ a b "Hand in Hand India Progress". Hand in Hand International. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Percy N. Barnevik". Partnership For Change website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  4. ^ "Maximum Impact". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  5. ^ "Founders". Hand in Hand International website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  6. ^ "Corporate Titan Percy Barnevik's $50 Million Bet On Poverty Reduction". Forbes. 
  7. ^ "Hand in Hand- Profile of CMF's Partner Organisation". Development Outlook. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  8. ^ a b Ngari, Pauline (2014-04-07). "Rebuilding Post-Genocide Rwanda 20 Years on - One Job at a Time". Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "Results" (PDF). Hand in Hand International website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  10. ^ "A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies Through Sustainable Development" (PDF). UN. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  11. ^ "Interview Percy Barnevik". Guardian website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  12. ^ "Percy Barnevik Video". Partnering for Global Impact. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  13. ^ "The Tough World of Charity Work". HEC Alumni. Retrieved 2013-08-07. 
  14. ^ "Dr Kalpana Sankar, une femme d’exception". Le Monde. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  15. ^ "Hand In Hand creates 1.3 million jobs". One World South Asia website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  16. ^ "Hand In Hand Afghanistan expanding with grant from EU". Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  17. ^ "Hand in Hand Afghanistan". Hand in Hand Afghanistan website. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  18. ^ "BBC interview with Seema Ghani". BBC. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  19. ^ a b "What Micro-businesses Can Do For Afghanistan". Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  20. ^ "The Hand in Hand Social Entrepreneurships Programme". Endeva website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  21. ^ "Board of Trustees". Hand in Hand International website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  22. ^ "Social impact fund launched to directly benefit 100,000 Kenyan women micro-entrepreneurs". Angel News. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  23. ^ "Hand in Hand India website". Hand in Hand India website. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  24. ^ "Overview of Hand in Hand India". Global Giving. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  25. ^ "Hand in Hand Southern Africa". Hand in Hand Southern Africa website. 
  26. ^ "Hand in Hand Eastern Africa". Hand in Hand Eastern Africa. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  27. ^ "Hand in Hand Afghanistan". Hand in Hand International. Retrieved 2015-02-17. 
  28. ^ Young, Holly. "View from the top". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  29. ^ "Harnessing the Potential Economic Power of Women to Transform Afghanistan". The Solutions Journal website. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  30. ^ "Hand in Hand International". Non-Governmental Organisation. Hand in Hand International. Retrieved 2014-01-16. 
  31. ^ "Hand in Hand Sweden". Hand in Hand Sweden website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 
  32. ^ "Interview with Percy Barnevik" (PDF). European Venture Philanthropy Association. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  33. ^ Whitaker, Rosa. "Job creation to solve poverty". The World We Want Foundation website. 
  34. ^ Colvin, Geoff. "A CEO masters micro-credit". Fortune Magazine. 
  35. ^ "Savings Groups: What Are They?". SEEP Network. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  36. ^ "Tackling poverty by combining saving, training, and microcredit". 100 Million Ideas website. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  37. ^ a b "Harnessing the Potential Economic Power of Women to Transform Afghanistan". Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  38. ^ "Hand in Hand Group" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  39. ^ "Afghanistan – solving the unemployment crisis". Thomson Reuters Foundation. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  40. ^ "Hand in Hand International". Retrieved 2015-02-16. 
  41. ^ "About the Savings-Led Financial Working Group". SEEP Network website. Retrieved 2013-07-30. 

External links[edit]