The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) U.S. Global Development Lab today announced $5 million to Living Goods, an organization building local networks of health entrepreneurs who provide their communities with quality, low-cost healthcare. Funded through the Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program, the award will help expand Living Goods’ community health service in Kenya. USAID Kenya will support Living Goods’ expansion strategy, and help it leverage existing USAID health programming.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Kenya has a critical shortage of healthcare workers, with 13 doctors, nurses, and midwives per 10,000 citizens. Only 60 percent of births are attended by skilled personnel. Community health workers play an essential role in strengthening health systems and connecting families to life-saving health services and education.
Inspired by direct sales models, Living Goods’ Community Health Promoters (CHPs) provide door-to-door healthcare to households; a recent study shows Living Goods’ CHPs are reducing deaths among children under the age of five by 27 percent. They also make healthcare products and education readily available to those in need, for an average of 50 cents per treatment, while earning an income from product sales. This model also aims to create sustainable livelihoods for the CHPs who are financially incentivized to meet household demand for healthcare services and receive small performance-based incentives for home visits and referrals.
“We are proud to support Living Goods’ game-changing model that empowers health entrepreneurs while delivering affordable, quality, community-based healthcare to the communities that need it the most,” said Ann Mei Chang, USAID’s Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director of the U.S. Global Development Lab.
DIV’s tiered-funding model, inspired by the venture capital experience, invests comparatively small amounts in relatively unproven concepts, and continues to support only those that can prove they work. Living Goods will use this latest DIV award to create 26 new branches and empower 2,600 new CHPs. Living Goods will recruit and select the management and field staff, including high-performing agents who will receive approximately two weeks of free interactive training on a wide variety of health topics and basic business skills with monthly training refreshers. This added capacity will allow Living Goods to serve more than two million people in Kenya.
Living Goods will also carry out a vigorous advocacy campaign to inspire NGOs, national governments, and the largest funders to increase financing for community health workers, and to adopt the tools and principles that make the Living Goods model so effective. Over the next 10 years, Living Goods aims to improve the health and livelihood of 50 million people in need.
Visit www.usaid.gov/div to learn more about DIV grants and to apply.Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).