Healthy Entrepreneurs (HE) is a social business that has developed a unique and practical concept to create a sustainable income for Community Health Workers (CHW) and serve rural markets with a complete range of basic health products and services.
Health is key in sustainable development, and the economic potential of functioning health systems is immense. Dysfunctional community health systems in Sub-Sahara Africa result in at least three million preventable deaths every year. Traditional community health programs suffer from performance, retention, and sustainability issues. In addition, non-communicable diseases are drastically rising in Kenya. Through accessible health information, screening, diagnosis, and access to treatment, the burden of community health issues, including diabetes and hypertension, can be reduced. However, the scarcity of doctors in rural Kenya poses a significant threat to people receiving the necessary treatment.
Moreover, unemployment rates are extremely high in Kenya. Especially in rural areas, it is often difficult to find a formal job, and many young people are stuck in low-productivity farming. HE provides them with an opportunity to start their own business in their community. Our model offers a business opportunity and improved healthcare in hard-to-reach settings at the same time.
Healthy Entrepreneurs will create 3.500 self-employed community health jobs for youth in rural counties in Northern and Central Kenya. Our e-platform combines supply chain, telehealth, and e-learning services enabling youth to run a health business and create a decent income.
HE offers young, new entrepreneurs the opportunity to become change agents and leaders in their communities. The model provides solutions for major obstacles for young people in rural areas such as job scarcity, lack of knowledge, skills, and start-up capital.
Young CHWs or other young people with a health background are trained as Community Health Entrepreneurs (CHE) and onboarded on our e-commerce platform. Our platform offers support from qualified medical staff to provide telehealth services, including prescription of medicines. The platform offers continuous learning on entrepreneurship and health.
HE targets female entrepreneurs. Women have proven to be more effective in quality service delivery, loyalty to the program, and their repayment of the credit. We expect to generate 4375 new jobs out of which 2975 are women under the age of 35. We will achieve this by training them on business, health, and soft skills in line with gender-responsive and decent job strategies. At the same time, we digitally enable them to run their business and perform quality health services supported by our telehealth solution (outputs).
The contribution of CFYE is key for HE to implement decent job strategies and gender responsiveness in the Kenyan context. Due to the interaction with the CFYE in Uganda, HE got inspired by the potential and relevance of both gender responsiveness and decent job strategies. We have realized HE does not have this specific expertise in-house. We sincerely value this process of designing and improving the recruitment policies for CHEs and colleagues within the Kenyan context. And here we do not believe that Uganda and Kenya are the same. A successful strategy is country-specific and so is the technical assistance from the Challenge Fund.
With the financial support of the CFYE, Healthy Entrepreneurs Kenya will be able to scale at maximum potential in the coming three years. The entrepreneurs will experience an increase in income and a career path whereby new health services can be added, based on technology-supported quality control and guidance. The grant will also enable us (along with other co-funders) to further expand our model to 10 counties in Kenya.