Pauline Ngari

CEO, Hand in Hand Eastern Africa

Hand in Hand looks at poverty differently and sees grassroots entrepreneurs, full of energy and ideas. We help turn their skills and potential into jobs. They discover a way up – and out.
Since operations began in India in 2003 Hand in Hand has worked in 10 countries, generating 1.5 million jobs. We’ve supplied $200 million in micro-loans, trained over a million people in business skills and helped them start over a million businesses.
Pauline Ngari has over twenty years’ experience of women and micro-entrepreneurship in Kenya. She has helped to transform the economic prospects of a quarter of a million poor rural Kenyan women – enabling them to access the loans and knowledge they needed to run their own businesses and move out of poverty.
Pauline built her career as a microfinance banker by focusing not on the bottom-line, but on the people at the bottom of the pyramid. She ran the credit operations of the Kenya Women Finance Trust , the largest sub-Saharan microfinance institution focused solely on women, as general manager.
Pauline was instrumental in channelling micro-credit to young Kenyan mothers starting up businesses, pioneering an approach which was adopted by a national Womens’ Enterprise Fund launched subsequently by the Kenyan government. She also contributed to framing Kenya’s microfinance bill.
In 2011 Pauline set up Hand in Hand Eastern Africa. Under her leadership, it has already supported the creation of 33,000 women-led family businesses – more than the entire number of new formal business registrations in the whole of Kenya over a similar period. Pauline has set her team the goal to support another 76,000 new businesses by 2015, creating 98,000 jobs for disadvantaged Kenyans and their communities.