2020 - what a year!
In 2020, Making More Health (MMH) began its fourth implementation phase with the ambition of developing a sustainable and holistic ecosystem of change for the communities in our global project areas in India and Kenya and on a more local level around the globe. It is our overall goal to assure more health in our communities in a sustainable and self-empowering way. To make this happen, we need to look at the whole system and more holistic solutions: health links and depends also to/from education & culture, wealth, infrastructure and vice versa. To solve all the different issues and to build a solid basis for growth, we need to involve also many solution-makers: Networking and active involvement of employees, social entrepreneurs and community partners on a shared-value approach. These are the key factors that enable the realization of this aim and many win-win-win situations.
The Making More Health Accelerator Program, now in its third year, empowers our social entrepreneurs in the MMH network in Africa: More than 63.000 people were directly impacted through the engagement of the social enterprises involved in this program. Our congratulations go especially to this year´s winner of the Making More Health Accelerator pitch, the social enterprise “Cowtribe” in Ghana!
The active engagement of our employees in many local and international MMH projects worldwide created also a huge impact on the ground. Thousands of people now benefit from purified drinking water; for many households we could organize cleaning up activities against bed bugs and flies’ invasions. The situation in these households is terrible. We could help especially elderly and disabled people to get at least food packages and basic hygiene items in place.
Also, in other parts of the world some exciting employee engagements took place: In our Social Intrapreneurship Magazine we published stories about the engagement of our colleagues under the umbrella of MMH – worldwide and won the European Excellence Award with this publication. Also, our colleagues participating in this year´s Bag2thefuture competition have shown great innovation and flexibility skills and needed to adapt their social intrapreneurs project ideas to the global pandemic. That also created trust in the communities and is a good basic for our next steps. Anyhow, virtual sessions and knowledge transfer in various ways were offered by employees to several target groups in the communities. This helped to tackle the crisis and to continue our local activities. The trust and relationships we built on the ground in the past became essential in all this.Thank you all for your commitment!
Digital solutions became more important
The year has demonstrated clearly how digital innovation can help when face to face meetings are not possible and how it enables further co-creation. The Boehringer Ingelheim initiative “Last Mile” which partners with our African MMH activities launched an app in mid-2020. This tool does not only support the daily management of agricultural work in Africa, but also supports the regular information exchange with the local farmers. Many social entrepreneurs adapted their business models to digital solutions and identified new opportunities on how to scale their activities – models that will be scaled up in the upcoming years.
Empowering people through communication and networking
Connecting and co-creating through communication is always key. With the website https://africa.makingmorehealth.org, all stakeholders involved in the various projects of health, education, wealth and infrastructure in different local areas in Kenya and beyond are now able to connect with each other and to share ideas, materials and solutions – independent of whether they are employees, social enterprises, NGOs or other local stakeholders. Besides leveraging co-creation in easy ways, sharing is also part of our MMH ambition: With the platform My MMH – My Making More Health, important health-related information (quiz cards, posters, training binders etc.) is accessible for free for everyone around the globe. A practical and tested source for materials that helps: trainers, teachers, informal health workers, NGOs… to bring more awareness to the communities: on safety, hygiene, nutrition and income generation. Also, material on women hygiene is available. In our local Kenyan market research survey we have recognized that this topic very much underserved and one of the top community needs.
Investments into infrastructure
Within the framework of MMH, we sponsored a new Health and Care center for our local NGO partner SOLASA in Eldoret, Kenya. In Bungoma County, Kenya, the first new building of St. Paul´s Kibisi primary school, which was also constructed under the umbrella of MMH, was inaugurated. The new school allows 750 children a safe space to study and learn. Two additional kindergarten have been inaugurated in India, adding to the three that have already been constructed in the past years. These kindergarten don’t just function as care and education center for children, but also as informal local centers for health education, empowering children, adolescents, pregnant mothers and families.
Some insights into newly launched MMH projects
In Bungoma county, Kenya together with the social enterprise HELIOZ and Boehringer Ingelheim’s BE Green initiative, we launched a pilot project to improve the quality of drinking water. This included, on one hand, the distribution of HELIOZ´s solar-powered device WADI which measures and visualizes the process of solar water disinfection, and on the other hygiene sensitization trainings with local partners and locals on the use of the device and the topic of clean water. More than 6000 community members already have benefited from the project, even more to come in the following months!
Arising from the collaboration with IREN (Inter Regional Economic Network) Growth-pad in western Kenya, we collaborated on the recipe book "Chakula Chetu: Indigenous Recipes from the Lake Region of Kenya" economically empowers women through the Wa-Wa self-help group in Homabay county, Kenya. Each sold recipe or cookbook inspires the user with nutritious Kenyan recipes and allows them to earn a decent livelihood.
MMH has been collaborating with Jane Waithera to fight for a changed perception of Albinism in Africa since 2017. A few weeks ago, Jane had been appointed as an Ashoka fellow and is now part of the world's largest social entrepreneur network! We wish Jane all the best and are thrilled to further collaborate with her! In the albinism programs in Webuye, in our MMH house, more than 155 families out of the persons with albinism (PwA) are regularly meeting and contributing to bring more hygiene and health to their communities and learn how to make their lives more sustainable.
Empowerment paying off during COVID-19
We have continued our work raising awareness on albinism together with our partners GAASPP, Ampath and PE Kenya, and launched a new training and awareness program. This includes materials to educate people with albinism (PwA), their relatives, friends and healthcare professionals. The locals in Webuye have received a new community center to create a place for exchange for PwA. Additionally, our communities of PwA have shown how our former health and hygiene trainings paid off this year: they contributed a lot to the fight against COVID-19 by producing and distributing soap and sharing knowledge about hygiene management. We were enlightened to see their empowerment!
But enabling communities to contribute to the fight against Covid-19 has not only taken place in Kenya. We have run several income generation and health trainings with members of the Vimuktha Federation over the past years. The gained knowledge proved to be very useful: the women used it to run programs to sensitize and train families on Covid-19 and to produce and distribute soap and masks, creating a win-win-win for everyone involved.
2020 – what a year! Our MMH initiative had to adapt and rethink, too. Despite all the hurdles, we realized what great opportunities and chances this year has brought to our communities and us. The Boehringer Ingelheim Global support program (580 000 EUR) supported our network of social entrepreneurs in Kenya and India and the MMH communities. Additionally, the Boehringer Ingelheim internal teams and employees engaged in many ways. A huge thanks to everyone who supported us, our partners, and the communities on the ground!
For more insight into our experiences this year, we also created a short video: https://bcove.video/3mnXWzX