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SC Johnson Empowers Female Entrepreneurs, Fights Malaria in Rwanda with EKOCENTERS

More than four billion people occupy the base of the world’s economic pyramid – known as the “base of the pyramid” or “BOP” – and live on less than $1,500 dollars a year. These families lack access to basic goods and services, facing everyday challenges as simple as finding clean water.
As a family company, we find that reality heart breaking, and we want to help. SC Johnson has been supporting these communities for nearly two decades, helping develop sustainable business models to raise the standard of living and offer opportunities for better quality of life. 
In 2017, we launched a new pilot program in Rwanda aimed at helping female entrepreneurs bring educational information, affordable mosquito repellents to support malaria prevention, and other products and services to families with very little access.


EKOCENTER Community Kiosks Offer Education and Resources

Teaming up with The Coca-Cola Company, Solarkiosk and Society for Family Health Rwanda as part of the EKOCENTER program, we’re helping bring safe drinking water, sanitation, solar energy and wireless communication to families. Mosquito-bite prevention is a key focus too, since malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases are a major health risk for BOP families.
EKOCENTERS are modular retail experiences, run by women operators that provide commerce of basic goods including OFF!® mosquito repellent lotion, Baygon® mosquito coils, and KIWI® shoe polish. EKOCENTERS also offer a place for community gathering and for entrepreneurs to set up business.
With the support of the Society for Family Health Rwanda, the kiosk operators run a communication campaign focused on malaria education through demonstrations and product samplings. Mosquito repellent lotion and mosquito coils are sold, filling the local gap in malaria prevention and other mosquito diseases. 

SC Johnson Mosquito Repellent Lotion Sold at EKOCENTERS
EKOCENTERS are run by women operators, helping create upward mobility for them and bring valued products and services to the community.

Filling a Gap: Disease Prevention while Developing Entrepreneurs

While some people think of insect repellents as merely a way to avoid pesky mosquitoes, in parts of the world, mosquitoes can carry life-threatening diseases like malaria. 
With the wider distribution of our pest control products in these rural communities, often populated by the BOP, we aim to reduce the percentage of people contracting malaria from mosquitoes. Studies* indicate a 33% reduction in mosquito bites can correlate to a 60% reduction in malaria occurrences.
“I am witnessing first-hand the positive impact on these Rwandan communities with the addition of SC Johnson’s pest control products,” said Wandera Gihana Manasseh, Executive Director, Society for Family Health Rwanda. “Together with SC Johnson, we are filling a big gap in malaria prevention in the region.” 
“We are glad to be underway with our behavior change communication,” he continues, “as it requires a combination of products and education which provides citizens with insect protection both before going to bed and during sleeping hours.”
With this new pilot program in Rwanda, we are enthusiastic to participate in a new business model which supports female entrepreneurs, while at the same time offering affordable products and disease prevention education.

Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson

A Long-Standing Commitment to Social Responsibility and Community Health

Our efforts with BOP communities are not new. For more than a decade, we’ve worked to help improve the lives of BOP families and help minimize mosquito-borne disease. 
A six-year initiative in Rwanda focused on helping pyrethrum farming families increase production and quality of their crops in an effort to boost incomes and raise standards of living.
Other efforts focus on studying mosquito-borne disease prevention, for example in a collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
With new and continuing initiatives like the EKOCENTERS, we continually renew our commitment to strengthening communities and making life better for families around the globe. 
*Sourced by American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene on efficacy of SC Johnson mosquito coils.