Despite being preventable, malaria continues to kill many thousands of people across the African continent per year, young children in particular. Uganics from Uganda is trying to make a difference, one soap bar at the time.
BY TONY ANSAH AND MIRIAM MANNAK
Despite substantial progress, malaria remains a major health risk in Uganda. Young children in particular are affected. Various social entrepreneurs have started delving in the situation in an attempt to make a difference, Uganics being one of them. This manufacturer of organic mosquito repellent soaps was co-founded by Joan Nalubega (21), who suffered from malaria regularly when she was a child.
In 2016, she decided to do something to help fight malaria. The first step was to develop a suitable product, for which she partnered with chemistry students from the Makerere University in Kampala and the Mannheim University in Germany.
A year later, the company launched a soap made of organic essential oils including olive oil, coconut oil, lavender and citronella that can repel mosquitoes for up to six hours. Last year, the product was finally certified as organic. Nalubega currently employs 26 people and together they make 500 to 1,000 bars of soap per week.
“There was little protection and prevention from malaria growing up,” she says in an interview with the Global Press Journal, explaining why she started Uganics “Making a repellent soap for me meant that my community is protected and productive.”
To make her products affordable to locals, Nalubega created two pricing levels: one for tourists and tourism stakeholders such as hotels and one for locals. This allows her and her team to serve local Ugandans who need the soap more than anyone else. To illustrate, one of her key clients, the Uganda Hotel Owners Association, buys the bars for around $4 per piece so that she can sell the soap to local Ugandans for $0.53 to $0.80 per bar. As a result, everyone wins!
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