Growing up in an orphanage, Joan often found herself falling ill with Malaria, a disease that remains all too pervasive in her country of Uganda.
Malaria is still a significant contributor to mortality there, accounting for almost 20% of hospital deaths in the country. After attending a social entrepreneurship training, Joan was inspired to create a venture that would tackle the disease that she had constantly battled with in her younger years.
Joan’s company, Uganics, aims to combat malaria by producing anti-malaria products: a long lasting mosquito repellent soap for children and families. The mosquito repellent effects of the soap lasts up to 6 hours following a bath, and clothes and linen washed with the soap have the same effect.
Cognizant of the fact that the poorest in Uganda often lack funds to buy similar products, Joan created a two tier pricing system for tourists and locals. She sells the same products to visiting tourists at a premium, and uses some of the revenue to provide discounts to underprivileged Ugandans most in need of the products. She has so far partnered with 10 safari lodges who sell the product at more than a 100% profit to enable her to subsidize the product for those who need it most.
Uganics has so far carried out 4 malaria information campaigns and distributed 1000 free anti-repellent soaps to 120 families in rural districts of Uganda. Joan’s ultimate vision is to see a Uganda free from Malaria, starting with reducing malaria deaths in Uganda by 20% in the next 5 years.
Media & Milestones
Kenya’s youngest innovators are looking at Sh10 million funding for their ideas after nominations open for this year’s Anzisha Prize by Mastercard Foundation and partners.
Joan Nalubega (21), co-founder of Uganics who produces mosquito-repellent soap to combat malaria in Uganda, received $12,500 as second runner-up. She will use this money to conduct a certification study for the company’s products to ready Uganics for export to neighbouring countries. “This way we will be able to widen the impact and work towards a malaria-free world. We will also be able to increase our production of essential oils, thus increasing youth and women employment,” she said.
As a young child in Kankobe orphanage in Uganda, Joan Nalubega regularly suffered from bouts of malaria. Now, at the age of 21, she uses that difficult time in her life as her motivation and inspiration for her business: making organic mosquito-repellent soap.