A marriage between social impact and business sustainability, social entrepreneurship has found a home in Africa. More and more, ventures that “do good while doing well” are finding innovative—and profitable—ways to address the continent’s challenges.
Read on to learn more about three social enterprises that are doing exceptional things in Africa.
BanaPads addresses an issue faced by millions of women and girls each month: lack of access to sanitary supplies for menstruation. In rural Uganda, where disposable sanitary pads are too expensive for many families, fibers from the banana plant are in high supply. Founder Richard Bbaale, who first came up with the idea after seeing his younger sister miss school each month, helped design a reusable and affordable pad made from those fibers. Now, BanaPads offers a “business-in-a-bag”, employing dozens of female entrepreneurs to make the pads and sell them on a commission-based model.
BanaPads was the AAE2014 winner for the Social Entrepreneur category and is a participant in the ALN Ventures 2015 class. Follow @BanaPads on Twitter.
Founded by Bilikiss Adebiyi, Wecyclers turns household waste into profit in Lagos, Nigeria. Using a fleet of low-cost cargo bikes, Wecyclers offers households a convenient recycling service and offers redeemable points based on the amount of materials recycled. In addition, Wecyclers provides steady jobs to the cyclists themselves. By addressing the urban waste crisis in Nigeria, Wecyclers both improving the environment and powering social change.
Shining Hope for Communities, Kenya
Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) began when founder Kennedy Odede wanted to find a way to improve the situation in Kibera, the Nairobi slum where he grew up. The SHOFCO model utilizes girls’ education as a focal point from which comprehensive social services (including health care, community empowerment, and water and sanitation) can reach the entire community. This holistic approach is a long-term investment that has a positive impact on the well-being of the community for years to come.