Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all children at all ages is essential to sustainable development. All children around the world should have access to the best healthcare possible, safe water to drink, nutritious food, a clean and safe environment, as well as information to help them stay healthy.
In 2017, 34 social ventures in our portfolio worked to promote healthier lives and wellbeing among children, with the majority of them focusing on giving children access to quality, essential health-care services (SDG target 3.8), and on reducing premature mortality and promoting mental health (SDG target 3.4). Here are two examples:
Razak Gausu & Abdul Razak Alhassan - Ghana (SDG target 3.8)
Children under the age of five are suffering and dying from diseases, which vaccines could prevent, in Ghana. Right now, 1 in 5 children face the uncertainty of not receiving the basic vaccines they need, and 1 in 10 children only gets the first two doses of their oral polio vaccine and not the third. Razak Gausu & Abdul Razak Alhassan have developed and provided a channel through which important information about how to eliminate vaccine preventable diseases can be dissemend to parents. The solution also ensures that parents do not miss their child’s vaccinations or health checkups by using SMS and automated voice calls to remind them.
Mamadou Moustapha Dieng - Senegal (SDG target 3.8)
The Senegalese population have very poor access to health care and there is often a long response time to emergencies. There is only one medical doctor per 17 000 people, and in rural areas, only 32% have access to medical services. Madame Moustapha Dieng has designed a solution which connects the public with health specialists via a web and mobile platform, it aims to reduce the waiting times and gives its its users the ability to have on demand access to health care advice.
children and youth were supported to develop and live healthier lives, owing to interventions carried out by our social ventures in 2017
of the social ventures felt that Reach for Change considerably or greatly contributed to increasing their organization’s credibility in 2017
Strengthened credibility helped Beautiful Minds to gain higher revenues and equip thousands of Ethiopian children with soap and handwashing knowledge
In Ethiopia, diarrheal disease is the second most common cause of death among children under 5, killing almost 40 000 children every year. 90 % of diarrhoea is caused by poor sanitation, people having to use an unsafe water supply and inadequate levels of personal hygiene. In order to enable and foster hygienic behaviour, social entrepreneur Ayatam Simeneh and his organization Beautiful Minds collect leftover soap from hotels and spas, recycle it and supply it to schools, where they train students on when and how to wash their hands.
Ayatam was selected to join the Reach for Change Incubator in the beginning of 2017. “When I joined, my business model was horrible. It was based only on grants, solicited applications and bids - and those are not consistent revenue generating sources. My background is as a social worker, and I was not even close to a business mindset. I had the heart but not the head”. Without a sustainable business model in place, it was difficult and risky for Ayatam to start scaling his impact. During spring, Reach for Change supported Ayatam through a series of workshops to develop his business model. He reflects: “Thanks to the support from Reach for Change, I have started thinking like a social entrepreneur. I now have a business model that is based on sales of soap to schools at a very low rate – 18 cents per soap – which generates profit that at a larger scale of operations can cover our costs. This can enable us to be independent of grants”.
In addition to supporting with the development of a business model, Ayatam highlights how Reach for Change has contributed a stamp of approval: “It was a huge boost in confidence for both me and my team to have an international NGO believing in us. It also increased our credibility when seeking support from other partners.”
During 2017, Beautiful Minds has grown their revenues from less than 400 USD to more than 25 000 USD. They have hired three full-time staff, and are aiming to soon hire an additional three to work on soap production. “When I compare the growth of Beautiful Minds to that of other startups in Addis, I think we have grown faster than everyone else that started in the same place in 2017”
Thanks to increased revenues and more staff, Beautiful Minds are now supporting 3,000 children in two schools. In addition, 70+ peer educators in 17 additional schools have been trained and Beautiful Minds have initiated a roll-out of support to more than 26,000 children.
Ayatam and his team have recently performed their first measurement, of the impact of their trainings; all participants, in their sample of 25 students and teachers, demonstrated an improved knowledge, with an increased median knowledge score from 60% to 95 %. “The next step is to measure to what extent this increased knowledge translates into actual hygienic behaviour”, says Ayatam. Melat, one of the many children that has been positively impacted by Beautiful Mind’s work, shares her thoughts below.
“It was a huge boost in confidence for both me and my team to have an international NGO believing in us. It also increased our credibility when seeking support from other partners.”
Beautiful Minds reduced the risk of Melat falling sick
Melat is a grade four student at Abiyoit Primary school. She remembers that before Beautiful Minds came to her school, there was no water and soap so she had to eat without first having washed her hands. She says, “After Beautiful Minds training on hand washing, some of my classmates become hygiene champions who taught our class about the importance of hand washing. I learned to wash my hands before eating, after using the bathroom and before cooking meals. Most of the days at our school, I go to the station to meet the hygiene champions who give us soap for washing our hands. I have also learned how to rinse my hands and wash with proper steps of hand washing such as lather with soap, rub the palms and interlace the fingers. I have also taught my family about hand washing and my mother laughs when I tell her to wash her hands because it makes her happy and proud.“
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