BFP: What do you do?
GS: I am now a consultant working, amongst others, with Hand in Hand International. Hand in Hand’s goal is to create 10 million sustainable jobs by 2020; the total so far is 1.3 million, the great majority in India, led by a dynamic Hand in Hand India.
BFP: What is the best part about your job?
GS: Working with committed colleagues to support self-help within marginalised and excluded communities which will allow them, mostly women, to gain the skills and confidence they need to develop and grow their own businesses. And then in seeing how they use their earnings to lift the burden of poverty from their families.
BFP: What have been your greatest challenges?
GS: Overcoming indifference, bridging the gap between public rhetoric and action, whether from Governments, officials or the private sector; unlocking sources of finance that can underpin solid multi-year investments.
BFP: How have you overcome these challenges? / What advice, would you give to others?
GS: By being increasingly able to demonstrate success; being accountable for results, showing the difference that can be made; by being business-like and efficient; better communication, by listening to clients and to donors. More than half of Hand in Hand’s funding has come from the private sector, corporations, individuals and foundations.
BFP: If someone wants to do what you do, where should they start?
GS: There is no single or preferred path: I got wide experience through the public service, with the African Development Bank, and as non-executive board member for the British Red Cross. Colleagues have come from the private sector, the third sector, and from academia. There is much greater movement now, the key is to make a start, spot opportunities to develop, and show you can deliver.
BFP: Finally; what do you hope to get out of being part of the BFP community?
GS: Exposure to new ideas, new approaches, and best practice. Hopefully to have the opportunity to forge new partnerships and alliances with businesses and individuals who share our commitment to creating jobs.
Thank you to Graham Stegmann for taking the time to do this interview.
Read previous Member of the Week interviews here.