Large-scale unemployment and income disparity was a major problem in north-eastern Brazil consisting of nine States. Criminality, anti-government activities by desperate youth, and limited access to finance to create sustainable livelihoods hampered and limited the scope of sustenance.
The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) identified the successful poverty reduction method of Hand in Hand incorporating the setting up of self-help groups; provide business training, facilitating access to credit, establishing market linkages – as a model that could be customized and replicated in Brazil. This approach led to income generating opportunities for 50,000 people in 10 states in northeastern Brazil using a combination of technical assistance, access to finance, and linkages to market and industry in relevant sectors. Customisation suited to local culture and adaptibility to local problems were key to ensure sustainability and success. Partnering with the local Government and not establishing parallel structures, creating an enabling environment, empowering women and integrated community development coupled with regular monitoring and evaluation paved the way for Hand in Hand to successfully establish its job creation model in Brazil.