Western Heads East (WHE), is a social enterprise initiative started by Western University in partnership with African universities, women’s groups, and research institutes. The ‘Yoghurt Mamas’ produce and sell probiotic yoghurt, which confers a nutritional benefit to its consumers, particularly to individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS. The program benefits the community, serving to empower women through sustainable economic development. The collaboration has resulted in the establishment of 10 community kitchens throughout Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Malawi (WHE, 2017).Despite its success the program still faces significant challenges, which this report aims to address through a multi-faceted solution. The first challenge involves consumers misconceptions of the use of probiotics. Many consumers of the yoghurt are HIV positive and believe the yoghurt offers medicinal benefits, and consequently stop taking their ARVs. While the probiotic yoghurt confers health benefits for its HIV positive consumers, it is not a replacement for medication. A second challenge is the lack of a uniform packaging strategy for the yoghurt. Many kitchens are currently using illegal methods like collecting and recycling old water bottles. A third challenge involves the incorrect usage and marketing of probiotics, many kitchens are not currently using probiotics in their yoghurt or they are diluting the probiotics. A final challenge is the lack of financial and entrepreneurial knowledge among the yoghurt mamas.This report proposes a three-pronged approach to respond to the challenges faced by WHE and the yoghurt kitchens. It will initially be implemented in two kitchens, through a grant of $82,000 US. If it is successful it can be expanded to all of the kitchens. The first part of the approach involves a glass jar packaging strategy, where consumers return their glass containers for a small stipend. Consumers will be placed on a registry to track their usage. Once they have more than 3 glass jars to their name they will need to either return their jars or pay an additional container fee. The second part of the approach involves financial training, which will be targeted directly at the Yoghurt Mamas to develop their entrepreneurial skills and address their present financial challenges. The third and final aspect of the proposal involves health education, targeted at Yoghurt Mamas and church leaders in order to raise community members understandings of the correct usage and benefits of probiotics. The success of this proposal will be measured in a few ways. First, to assess the financial knowledge of the Yoghurt Mamas, the financial records/books will be examined periodically, to ensure the financial expert was beneficial for the Mamas. The next two goals, health education and the use of glass jars as packaging will be monitored through qualitative surveys of the clients and the Yoghurt Mamas. Financial analysis of the proposal indicates that it will start earning a profit after two years.
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