For the 2013 GSVC, young graduates and entrepreneurs from 30 countries presented 650 projects to the judges. For the first time since its creation in 1999, the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), an international competition, has had African participants and winners.
This year’s winner was Faso Soap, a soap that prevents its users from contracting malaria. The use of this mosquito repulsive ingredient marks a revolution for people in mosquito-infested countries who cannot afford a mosquito net or anti-malaria drugs. The first victims of malaria are pregnant women, young children under five and HIV patients (as their immune systems are severely compromised).
Malaria is one of the most long-lasting pandemics, and the World Health Organization states that more than half of the world population is still at risk of contracting it. In Africa alone, malaria is the leading cause of death. In 2010, malaria killed 660,000 out of the 219 million people who contracted the parasite (malaria is not a virus) and 91% of the deaths were recorded in Africa.
Taking into account the cultural habits as well as the poor financial means of the majority of the African population, Moctar Dembele and Gerard Niyondiko, two students, found an innovative and unique way of preventing malaria: they created a 100 percent locally produced, antibacterial and mosquito-repulsive soap, the Faso Soap.
According to the Berkeley Blum Center’s Developing Economies, “this solution, added to locally manufactured soap, provides a very accessible, low-cost anti-malaria tool.”
The Faso Soap, a project undertaken in Burkina Faso, brought $25,000 to its winners. Hopefully, it will soon be widely produced and distributed in order to substantially reduce malaria contamination rates through a cost-effective solution.
To watch the demo video, click here.
– Lauren Yeh