Impact: What is the impact of the work to date?
Since Hand in Hand Afghanistan was established in 2007 we have generated 3,000 enterprises and 4,500 jobs. In order to ensure the continued success of our micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses we help them scale up, find a bigger market and achieve sustainable growth which in turn benefits their families and communities.
Barriers: What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Low female participation is a risk. However our approach has already proven to be suitable for women: we tailor the content of our training to women, we gain the community’s permission in advance to work with them and we use exclusively female staff/trainers, and all-female groups. We often initially focus on men as a pathway to working with women – as men’s positive experience of self-help groups makes it acceptable for their wives and daughters to join. Nationally, female participation in our groups is currently 50%, well ahead of the 30-35% target set by the Afghan government.
Full Impact Potential: What are the main spread strategies moving forward? (Please consider geographic spread, policy reform, and independent replication/adoption of the idea or other mechanisms.)
We already working closely with the Government's Afghan Rural Enterprise Development Program (AREDP) and will look to work closely with them as we expand.
Further, we have recently undertaken an in-depth feasibility study to look into possible expansion from Balkh (the base of our current operations) and into the provinces of: Jowzjan, Sar-e Pol and Samangan. These three provinces offer relative security, support from local communities and lack similar development programs.