Food insecurity has plagued the African continent for years, with Nigeria being one of the…
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. These African entrepreneurs are creating their’s, providing solutions to some of Ghana and Nigeria’s most pressing challenges in education and health, and driving innovation through technology to empower young people and women.
The ongoing pandemic has reminded us of the importance of building resilient, fair, and equitable societies that ensure no one is left behind and allow all individuals not only to meet their basic needs but to thrive. As such, the role of social enterprises, focused on creating lasting positive impact beyond generating profit, has become more necessary than ever.
In West Africa, bold entrepreneurs like Abisola Oladapo, founder and CEO of Mumspring, and Daniel Amedza, co-founder of Scribble Works, have been doing incredible work in this regard for years, developing innovative health and education solutions through their social enterprises.
Mumspring: fighting to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in Nigeria
According to the WHO, 20% of all global maternal deaths occur in Nigeria. A country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and where the risk of dying during childbirth is 1 in 22, compared to 1 in 4900 in most developed countries. Thankfully, Mumspring has been providing vital support to Nigerian pregnant women and mothers since 2018.
Abisola Oladapo launched her venture after she became a mother and began to learn about the tragic statistics for maternal and neonatal health in the country. It serves women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, focusing on women from underserved communities and providing them with the resources they need to have safe pregnancies and deliveries.
Mumspring serves women from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, focusing on women from underserved communities and providing them with the resources they need to have safe pregnancies and deliveries.
Their flagship product is Agnes, an app that does not require internet access and uses AI-powered voice calls to provide low-income expecting mothers with language-specific tools and resources for a safe pregnancy and delivery. The mothers have 24/7 access to midwives as well as relevant antenatal and prenatal education. Agnes became particularly relevant during the pandemic because it enables women to access the information they need without meeting physically.
They also offer other products such as mumspring mall, an online marketplace for maternal items, and mumspring App, aimed at middle to upper-class mothers, that provides vital pregnancy and newborn information.
With these offerings, Mumspring has given key support to over 2,000 expecting mothers across southwest Nigeria and plans to onboard over 20,000 women by the end of 2021.
Scribble Works: bridging the educational gap in Ghana through technology
Access to quality education in Africa has been a major problem for a long time. Data from UNESCO shows that in Sub-Saharan Africa, over one-fifth of children between the ages of about 6 and 11, one-third of young people between the ages of 12 and 14, and roughly 60% of youth between the ages of about 15 and 17 are not in school. Even for students that are, the quality of the education they receive often falls short compared to the one in other regions.
The challenges in education were intensified by the pandemic, as schools shut down and many were not equipped with the technology necessary for their students to continue learning.
Scribble Works became a very timely solution to enable educators and students in Ghana to work remotely. The social enterprise provides technology training for schools without access to computer labs and internet services. In doing so, they help to close the educational gap between students from low and high-income schools across the globe.
Scribble Works provides technology training for schools without access to computer labs and internet services. In doing so, they help to close the educational gap between students from low and high-income schools across the globe.
The company has successfully onboarded over 100 schools, building capacity for educators and providing them with the 21st-century skills they need to compete globally.
Boosting the impact of social entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs like Abisola and Daniel and social enterprises like theirs are crucial to meeting the needs of local communities as well as national economies. It is therefore imperative to provide them with all the tools they need to remain sustainable in the long term and to expand their reach.
The New Economy Booster Program, launched in August 2020, was created to support impact-oriented businesses like these. During the program, participating ventures received training, accessed resources to help them scale, increased their reach and visibility, and ultimately became more equipped to create a deeper impact.
Daniel explained that Scribble Works joined it because he saw it as “An opportunity to take our business to the next level”. He further expressed that it would have been very difficult for its business to recover from the impact of COVID-19 without its support.
For Mumspring it was an opportunity to scale, as they were offered a grant by the Department of International Jobs in the UK to expand to the country while going through the program.
To learn more about these social enterprises and others like them, take a look at the program’s Dealbook.
This article is part of a series featuring impact-driven entrepreneurs from Ghana and Nigeria sparking innovation in COVID-19 affected sectors. To keep up to date with the New Economy Booster program, subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and listen to the testimonies of the participants and program managers on our YouTube channel.