A New Kind of Entrepreneur is Working to Save Lives in Ghana
United States of America, April, 17 2007 -
This very innovative approach, which closes the gaps in access to practical consumer health care products where they are needed most, is a new endeavor for Freedom from Hunger.
We've all encountered an Avon Lady on the other side of our doorbell. She's that familiar, cheerful neighbor who offers a line of beauty products at a very reasonable price. But what if that lady worked in a rural village in Ghana and sold insecticide-treated mosquito nets, water treatment tablets, and reading glasses door-to-door? What if she engaged her customers in a little consumer education-not on which color lipstick looks best, but on how to prepare oral rehydration salts for a very young child?
That's just the idea in Ghana where Freedom from Hunger is applying the lessons of Avon and other "micro-franchising" businesses to the challenges of sustainably distributing health care products to rural, even remote, villages. The first group of entrepreneurial ladies are in training this month in Ghana where they are learning to sell health care products as a new and sustainable micro-enterprise. Trustee Mark Marosits is offering the pro-bono services of his social marketing firm, Worldways Social Marketing, to help Freedom from Hunger work through issues of branding, marketing and communications for the new initiative.
This very innovative approach, which closes the gaps in access to practical consumer health care products where they are needed most, is a new endeavor for Freedom from Hunger. It is a direct extension of our success in supporting women's entrepreneurial efforts to launch and grow home-based businesses and our efforts to provide them with information to safeguard their families' health.
The initiative was launched after studies on our West Africa malaria initiative (funded by GlaxoSmithKline's Africa Malaria Partnerships) revealed that, as a result of their participation in Credit with Education programs that included education on malaria, women had earned enough money to buy insecticide-treated nets, knew how to use them and tried to buy them. But, too often, no one was selling the nets in their rural village. With this new initiative, these villages will not only gain a supplier of nets, they will gain a micro-entrepreneur who sells a variety of health care products (including popular items such as reading glasses!) that are all too often hard to get.