One Hen

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This article is about an organization. For the tongue-twister beginning with "One hen, two ducks", see Announcer's test § One hen, two ducks.
Formation January 2009
Founders Katie Smith Milway
Lisa Henderson
Karen Schultz
Type Non-profit (501C3) organisation
Purpose Humanitarian entrepreneurial finance
Services Educational resources for micro-finance
Executive Director
Helen Rosenfeld
Director of Technology
Sree Balamurugesh
Director, International Programs
Courtenay Cabot Venton

One Hen, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Needham, Massachusetts. It was established in January 2009 as an outgrowth of the 2008 children’s book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference and the educator movement it inspired. One Hen’s mission is to empower kids to become social entrepreneurs who make a difference for themselves and the world by equipping educators with educational resources to inspire kids to four values: financial responsibility, personal initiative, global awareness and giving back.

Through the One Hen Academy, storybook, and a website of free games and activities, young people (grades K-8) are challenged to start their own small businesses. One Hen works with national and international educators, schools, community centers, and through the partnership with educational organizations such as BELL, Citizen Schools, National Heritage Academies, and America SCORES to implement its One Hen Academy curriculum. Since the organization’s inception, over 5,000 students have participated in the full One Hen Academy program. To date, these programs and resources have reached over 32,000 children in 100+ countries and across the United States.

The Book[edit]

One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference[2] is written by award-winning author Katie Smith Milway. The book is published by Kids Can Press[3] and is illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes.[4] Based on the true story of Dr. Kwabena Darko, the book follows the life of a West African boy, Kojo, who receives a small loan to buy a hen, and takes flight as an entrepreneur. He moves gradually from poverty, to well-being, to provider who creates opportunities for others. It’s a story of how the world undergoes change one person, one family, and one community at a time.[3]

Since its publication in the spring of 2008, One Hen has won accolades for its story and illustrations, including:

  • 2009 The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) finalists Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction[5]
  • 2009 Children's Africana Best Book Award[6]
  • 2009 Massachusetts Book Award[7]
  • 2009 US Board of Books for Young People's "2009 Outstanding International Book List"
  • 2009 International Readers Association– Global Society Award[8]
  • 2008 Best Bets for Children and Teens–Ontario Librarians Association[9]


One Hen, Inc. is built upon the global lessons of children's book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference and the original interactive website, which was developed as a pro bono project by Sapient Interactive, the marketing services group of Sapient Nitro, and Bain & Company's Community Works program.[10]

In September 2008 a group of four women met at Babson College, along with other volunteers, and founded One Hen, Inc.[11] All of these volunteers had taken leadership roles in the educational movement that had evolved from the book One Hen and its accompanying website. They formed a volunteer management team and in January 2009, One Hen, Inc. was registered as a 501(c)(3) organization.

During the spring of 2009, in response to widespread educator interest, the One Hen team worked with teachers from the JFK Elementary School in Canton, Massachusetts to develop One Hen Academy. Educators were eager to teach social entrepreneurship and the value of giving in their classrooms. This collaboration earned One Hen and the JFK a feature on ABC news with Charlie Gibson in May 2009.

In July 2009, the first One Hen Academy summer program piloted with 100 students in Boston in partnership with BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life). In 2010, One Hen expanded with partner BELL and worked with City Year to reach 2,100 children in five other cities (Boston, Detroit, Baltimore, New York and Augusta, GA).

In 2011, One Hen refined the One Hen Academy curriculum for 6th grade and expanded the program to middle school students, extending program implementation to charter school network National Heritage Academies. In just one year this partnership grew from 400 students to nearly 2,000 students.

In the fall of 2012 One Hen developed an afterschool program, adjusting the curriculum to meet the needs of the extended day population in partnership with Citizen Schools and America SCORES New England. This Boston focused programming was piloted across a number of Boston Public Schools middle schools during the 2012-13 academic year.

Today, One Hen, Inc. program offerings includes a book, website, and teaching modules, which are used in classroom teaching or run as a stand-alone after-school, club or summer enrichment curriculum.

One Hen Academy[edit]

One Hen Academy is an enrichment curriculum based on the One Hen story. Students begin the program by learning about the character "Kojo", a young Ghanaian boy who makes a big difference by buying one hen, which in turn lays eggs, and hatches more hens, until he eventually becomes the largest chicken farmer in all of Ghana.

The interactive curriculum teaches elementary and middle school students the fundamentals of money management, the basics of starting a business, and the importance of helping others. Through the lessons, students learn how business works and the basics of money management. Then, inspired by Kojo's story, they receive micro-loans to start simple businesses. Students apply what they have learned, sell their products, and ultimately give most of their profits to help others in need.

The One Hen Academy is used by 3rd-7th grade students in traditional classroom, homeschool, and afterschool settings, or as an enrichment program for an organization. The 8 module curriculum leads kids through the core concepts of starting a socially conscious business.

Tech for Change[edit]

One Hen is building on an evidence base that demonstrates that micro-savings through facilitated self-help groups can deliver transformational change.

The approach suggests that poverty can be eradicated from the inside out, by facilitating people to work together as agents of change to start small businesses, and use the profits for social and environmental gains in their communities.[12]

In order to facilitate and support the growth of self-help groups, we are launching a mobile app for young people, empowering them to be the next generation of business, social and environmental leaders in their communities. This will strengthen organic growth and inspire new groups to empower themselves to become change agents in their own communities.

We believe that this approach can quickly go to scale and are seeking partners interested in using the One Hen youth approach in other contexts.


The One Hen website was redeveloped in 2014. The Kids section includes games to draw young users into the act of microfinance. Children earn "beads" for completing games such as navigating a maze; completing a quiz on the book; catching virtual fish and decorating African beads. Children are asked if they would like to donate their beads to an entrepreneur on the site's virtual market and trigger a real loan to an African entrepreneur. Stories of actual entrepreneurs flip forward on the site as the kids invest their beads, so they can see the effect a small loan has on the life of a poor entrepreneur.

In the Educators section, teachers, librarians, and parents create, post and share curriculum and activities to use to teach math, social studies, reading, world resources and more through the lens of social enterprise, comprising financial literacy, youth philanthropy and global citizenship.


One Hen has won numerous book and website awards as well as notes from pioneers in poverty alleviation, including Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank.[13]


  • Nomination, Forest of Reading Golden Oak[14]
  • Nomination, Children's Crown[15]


  • Best Books for Children List, Bank Street College [16]
  • The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) finalists Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction [17]
  • US Children's Africana Book award awarded by a consortium of African American colleges [18]
  • 9th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards: Children's/Young Adult Literature Award[19]
  • Computerworld Honors: 21st Century Achievement Award[20]
  • US Board of Books for Young People's "2009 Outstanding International Book List"[21]
  • International Readers Association: Global Society Award[22][23]
  • US Board of Books for Young People's 2009 Outstanding International Book List[21]
  • Nominee, Forest of Reading Silver Burch Award (Ontario Librarians Association)[24]
  • Society of School Librarians International, K-6 Social Studies Honor Book[25]


  • Skipping Stones Honor Award[26]
  • Best Bets for Children and Teens (Ontario Librarians Association)[27]
  • Rutgers University Econ for Kids – Top five books by concepts – Money/Banking [28]
  • BNET Best Business Book Winner[29][30]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Milway, K.S. (2008). One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference. Toronto: Kids Can Press.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Bain & Company - Community Works
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Outstanding Achievement Award". Interactive Media Awards. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 
  14. ^ "Forest of Reading® 2010 - Golden Oak™". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  15. ^ "Children's Crown Award Reading Program | Triple Crown Awards". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  16. ^ [1] Archived July 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "If you love children's books, you've come to the right place! | Canadian Children's Book Centre". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  18. ^ "Africa Access Review". Africa Access Review. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  19. ^ "9th Annual Book Awards". 2007-05-14. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  20. ^ [2][dead link]
  21. ^ a b [3][dead link]
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Forest of Reading 2009". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  25. ^
  26. ^ [4][dead link]
  27. ^ "presents Author Katie Smith Milway". Kids Can Press. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  28. ^ "EconKids Home". Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  29. ^ "2008's Best Business Books: Vote Now - CBS News". 2008-11-26. Retrieved 2013-10-04. 
  30. ^ SHALOO, SHARON, ed. (June 22, 2009). "A COMMONWEALTH OF BOOKS, READING & LIBRARIES" (PDF). The 9th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards Announced. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 

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News coverage[edit]