Hand Up Or Hand Out?

Income generation and micro finance initiatives in developing nations provide a hand up not a hand out to those living in poverty. These innovative financial services provide access to loans, savings, training and insurance for people restricted from these services due to poverty. The goal of these initiatives is to use small loans that grow independence and security, on a grassroots level, as a sustainable and practical solution to alleviate poverty around the world.

Micro financing is most commonly implemented through the facilitation of small business loans however other activities such as education and training are also beneficial avenues that can be used to produce similar outcomes. When skills are developed through education and training a greater range of prospects become available allowing for future opportunity to generate income and bring forth development within a community. These initiatives are not considered welfare because they increase community choice, creating an environment where people can exercise their full potential to lead productive and creative lives independently.

Organisations such as Global Concern partner with communities to make income generation possible. The income generation projects run through Global Concern begin with community members who are egger to use programs as a tool to change their economic, social and environmental situation. This kind of community development encourages independence and self-sufficiency. Global Concern facilitates income generation projects throughout Africa and South Asia. Here is a glimpse of the programs run in Bangladesh and India.


Income generation projects in Bangladesh have helped rickshaw pullers and their families move out of slums. This program provides men with the opportunity to independently own their rickshaw or van. When workers own their vehicle, they are released from the pressure to hand over a large portion of their earnings to pay inflated vehicle rental fees. The money saved from not paying rental has allowed families to improve their financial status, pay off debts, move out of the slums, start a business, send their children to school and better provide for their families.

The lives of women have also been changed in Bangladesh through income generation programs. In the same regions that Global Concern runs education projects for children, unskilled women have been given the opportunity to be involved in sewing classes. Village women are being trained in tailoring which provides them with skills that will open avenues for employment. Opportunities to own their own their own sewing machine through a micro financed loan allows them to sew clothes at home and earn a living. All of these women are from poor communities and are now able to help provide daily needs for their families.


As India’s population continues to grow, natural resources are becoming increasingly strained, and despite a rapidly expanding economy, job opportunities are limited for those who are uneducated and unskilled. With India’s economic growth concentrated in the service industry, particularly in IT, those without education and training are largely excluded from this growth industry, thus deepening the divide between the rich and the poor. Global Concern partners with women from the Anuppampattu community in a tailoring program, similar to the tailoring program in Bangladesh. The training program in India runs free six-month sewing and tailoring courses for poor unskilled women. At the end of the course, the women each receive a certificate of achievement. The program also offers a subsidized savings scheme for a select few that have graduated from the course and in desperate need of a sewing machine to start earning an income. The scheme offers to pay for 50% of the cost of the machine if the women are able to pay for the other 50%. Some women who have graduated from the program are now earning an income for the first time in their lives. They have developed in their self-esteem and are now able to help provide daily needs for their families and fight their way out of poverty.

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