Progress for social enterprise Lilypads in Zambia after Challenges research

Lilypads Zambia Challenges Group

Lilypads is a Scotland-based social enterprise that seeks to address period poverty. As part of Challenges’ Access Africa Programme, Lilypads had engaged our Accra team to undertake a piece of consumer market research in Ghana and Zambia. This research targeted women and girls of menstruating age, and asked them about their requirements in regards to sanitary pads; whether they would be willing to use reusable pads; and their feelings towards ecofriendly sanitary pads, including how much they would be willing to pay.

Challenges identified a clear market opportunity for Lilypads, and its product and business model.

Lilypads ChallengesFollowing this market research, Challenges then looked at the practicalities of establishing a production and distribution base in a number of different locations, including Zambia. The legalities of producing pads locally, such as the requirements for establishing a factory that produces and distributes sanitary pads, was a key consideration. Costs, employment opportunities and future forecasts were also major factors.

Subsequently, Challenges Zambia engaged both the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) for the standards required for sanitary towels; and the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) as to the legal requirements to establish Lilypads as a company in Zambia that would produce ecofriendly sanitary towels.

Challenges also engaged with a number of potential partners, identifying the One Planet Café Zambia, a business in South Luangwa that produces and exports banana paper branded One Planet Paper. This sustainability focused social business was receptive to partnering with Lilypads to produce ecofriendly sanitary pads.

Challenges is now working to raise capital on behalf of Lilypads in order to run a pilot in Zambia.


The Access Africa Programme

The Access Africa Programme enables Scottish social enterprises and social entrepreneurs to explore and expand into African markets. It provides market research and business development support, funded by the Scottish Government, to enterprises and individuals who have an idea, product, service or model that could make a real impact in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

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Challenges works with arts therapy charity amid plans for Zambia launch

Zambian Therapeutic Arts business training

Zambian Therapeutic Arts was set up by retired psychologists and art therapy practitioners in Scotland. They have, over a number of years, trained eight Zambians on the delivery of art therapy-based counselling, as well as training others to deliver that counselling. These Zambians came from a range of professions (teacher, neuroscientist, private psychiatrist, university lecturer in medicine, physiotherapist, etc) with a unifying passion for mental health, and better outcomes for patients.

With a view to empowering the local trainers, and create a more sustainable entity in Zambia, Challenges Catalyst was approached to give guidance to ZTA on how to set up a social enterprise. In discussion, and with involvement from Challenges Zambia, it was proposed that a first step would be a short training engagement to assess the needs of the trainers, give some basic theory around business and operational set up, and finally allow a platform for brainstorming on how it might work. Content was taken from our CMI learning and development material, while also incorporating additional activities and interactive discussions.

Participation in the sessions was really good, and the Challenges staff saw a strong level of commitment, passion, creativity, industry specific knowledge and networks, and overall close bond between the team members.

Following the sessions, Challenges has recommended involving ZTA in the Access Africa Programme in the early part of 2020 to undertake a research into which legal entity would be the best option moving forward (with options including social enterprise, NGO, private business, not for profit, etc).

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Challenges Zambia performs operational set-up for First Aid Africa

First Aid Africa partners with Challenges Zambia

First Aid Africa Challenges Zambia

Challenges’ Access Africa Programme is a pioneering initiative that aims to encourage social enterprises to expand their impact to emerging economies. After a pilot in 2018, Challenges has rolled the project out to involve additional social businesses in areas such as healthcare and clean tech. 

In 2018 as part of the AAP pilot, Challenges Zambia played a critical role in registering First Aid Africa’s Zambian arm. This followed an extensive piece of market analysis and business diagnostic to ascertain the opportunity facing First Aid Africa. Challenges’ consultants also looked at the barriers facing market entry. 

First Aid Africa is a social enterprise that works in both urban and rural areas in several African nations. Its mission is to provide sustainable equipment and education in first aid to emergency first responders. Central to the organisation is the belief that “a small amount of medical knowledge and equipment” can make a big difference. 

Delivering professional first aid training to communities across the continent, the majority of FAA’s courses are provided free of charge for at-risk groups. For companies and larger organisations, FAA charge a fee that enables the sustainability of its community work. 

Following the legal incorporation of First Aid Africa Zambia Ltd in 2018, Challenges’ Lusaka team worked closely with FAAZL to support its market entry in Zambia, a process that involved specific deliverables including business model analysis, business registration, network support and staff recruitment. 

First Aid Africa continues to expand

Since Challenges’ work with FAAZL, the emergency healthcare organisation has continued to grow and expand its products and service offerings in the Zambian market. It has since won contracts with Zambia’s Ministry of Health and the Zambia Police Service among other institutions. 

Sam Abrahams, chief executive of First Aid Africa, said: “We wanted to take our first aid training programme to Zambia, but we lacked the logistical support we had in other African countries. By way of the Access Africa Programme, we went from having zero presence in Zambia to operating a functioning office in a matter of weeks, enabling us to take our training and services to remote or isolated communities.” 

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Challenges shares Equal Community Foundation’s vision of a world free from gender-based violence

Equal Community Foundation Challenges Group Rwanda Access Africa Programme

Joining our Access Africa Programme is the Equal Community Foundation, whose vision is a world free from gender-based violence. ECF works towards this vision through its mission: to raise every boy in India to be gender equitable, an outcome it calls Gender Equitable Boys. Challenges is working with the ECF team to bring their experience and expertise to Rwanda.

Until recently, Equal Community Foundation had focused on designing and implementing programmes that transform knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours for adolescent boys in India, while rolling out that approach through a national collaboration called Project Raise.

ECF has now begun to explore how it can accelerate the impact of organisations working with boys on gender equality in other countries by sharing its knowledge. In order to achieve this, Equal Community Foundation has developed a framework that describes the capacity required to raise Gender Equitable Boys at a national level. Equal Community Foundation now wants to use this framework to help organisations in other countries to build local capacity.

The Challenges Group is helping ECF to develop and test the diagnostic tool that assesses the capacity of a country against the ECF framework. Will Muir, chief executive at Equal Community Foundation, said he wanted to focus on Rwanda because of its progressive policy on gender equality.

Working closely with ECF, the Challenges team have now developed a robust interview toolkit based on the ECF framework, which our team in Kigali has used to engage with sector experts in Rwanda.

Will added: “Although we’re specifically working to assess the current landscape in Rwanda, the plan is for ECF to hone its diagnostic so that it’s robust and flexible enough to be applied in any country, meaning the charity can both accelerate and grow its impact internationally.”

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Lilypads and Challenges collaborate to help end period poverty

Lilypads Zambia Challenges Group

Lilypads is a social enterprise committed to improving girls’ access to sanitary products and ending period poverty. The Challenges team in Zambia is working with the business to better provide accessible and affordable menstrual health products for women and girls.

As part of our Access Africa Programme, we are assessing demand for Lilypads’ eco-friendly sanitary pads within Lilypad’s target market. Challenges consultants are also scoping the feasibility of a local manufacturing centre in Zambia, which would enable Lilypads to expand its reach and impact.

Meanwhile, Challenges’ Team Ghana is supporting Lilypads to identify a local manufacturing and distribution partner.

Lilypads’ chief exective Alison Woods said: “Working with Challenges has been a brilliant opportunity. They provided thorough market research and recommendations to enable us to evaluate what the best next step is for Lilypads.”

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Clean Water Wave offers breakthrough solution for water filtration

Clean Water Wave Rwanda Challenges Group

In Rwanda, the Challenges team in Kigali are collaborating with a Scottish social enterprise called Clean Water Wave. Clean Water Wave has developed a water-filtration system that is high volume, and low power and low maintenance.

Clean Water Wave

Clean Water Wave’s CAFE system can turn dirty water into safe drinking water.

Within our Access Africa Programme, Challenges is working with Clean Water Wave to identify the most feasible partner in Rwanda for a pilot that will demonstrate the potential of CWW’s CAFÉ water filter system. This innovative and sustainable treatment solution can be used in rural and hard-to-reach communities. It’s a breakthrough system that can treat polluted ground and surface water, and turn it into clean drinking water. All of us at Challenges and Clean Water Wave are deeply excited about the potential for CAFE.

Working with Clean Water Wave, Team Rwanda is in advanced talks with the national water regulator, the Rwanda Water and Sanitation Corporation.

Clean Water Wave is a social enterprise committed to providing technology that can provides clean water to everyone around the globe. Like the team at Challenges, CWW believes in working collaboratively with local partners, NGOs and other social enterprises in order to fulfil its clean water aims and help generate jobs.

Have a look at Clean Water Wave’s website for more information on their water treatment system.


 

The Access Africa Programme

The Access Africa Programme enables Scottish social enterprises and social entrepreneurs to explore and expand into African markets. It provides market research and business development support, funded by the Scottish Government, to enterprises and individuals who have an idea, product, service or model that could make a real impact in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Read more

Giraffe Health partnership could provide personalised physiotherapy to Ghanaian patients

Giraffe Healthcare Ghana Challenges Group

As part of our Access Africa Programme, we’ve forged a series of positive partnerships with social businesses, including Giraffe Health, a healthcare enterprise based in Glasgow, Scotland.

Giraffe provides an e-health platform that delivers high quality, personalised healthcare programmes backed by expert advice and support. We’re working with the team to identify whether there is a market for its healthcare platform among urban-based physiotherapy services in Ghana, while also providing additional insight into other potential markets and applications in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Giraffe platform means patients can directly connect online with physiotherapist, enabling real-time data-capturing and sharing, and promotes better home care through tailor-made exercise programmes. It’s been designed for people who have difficulty accessing traditional face-to-face clinical services, whether that’s due to work commitments, rural location, specific cultural and language issues, transport problems, mobility limitation, or other health issues such as fatigue.

We’re working with Giraffe’s medical specialists Professor Lorna Paul and Dr Elaine Coulter to identify whether there is a market for its healthcare e-platform among urban-based physiotherapy services in Ghana, while we’re also providing additional insight into other potential markets and applications in sub-Saharan Africa.

Giraffe is a social enterprise spin-out from Glasgow Caledonian University, and won the Converge Challenge Social Enterprise Award in 2017.

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