If you were inspired by the article on Lupita Nyongo then you certainly will be doubly motivated by the story of these young and selfless achievers. So sit back, relax and be assured of a good read.
Success I have learnt is not essentially in what you can do or have done for yourself but in what you can do or have done for other people especially the ones that may not repay you. For it is in losing your life for other people that you truly gain it. This I believe was the force that drove these young geniuses to action. Moctar Dembele, a native of Burkina Faso and Gerard Niyondiko from Burundi are students of the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and the winners of the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), a global competition launched by Berkeley MBA students designed to help growing entrepreneurs transform their ideas into businesses that have a positive social impact.
Dembele 22, and Niyondiko 35, are the very good heads that invented the lifesaving “Faso soap”, a soap made from locally sourced herbs and natural ingredients like Shea butter and lemongrass oil that helps stop malaria; the life threatening disease which is a leading cause of death for large populations in the countries of tropical Africa, caused by parasites that are spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It has been estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that about half of the world’s population is at a high risk of malaria, and the impact of the disease is mostly felt in the world’s poorest countries. In 2010, an estimate of 660,000 malaria deaths was recorded, 90% 0f which occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa, mostly among children under the age of 5.
This was what prompted a cry in the hearts of Dembele and Niyondiko to take the challenge and fight for the lives of their people and restore sound health first to Africa and then the rest of the world. The result of their setting apart was this great and laudable innovation which attracted an award of $25,000 grand prize, for which these young men defeated 650 competitors from nearly 40 countries.
Their victory marks the first time an entry from Africa has won the Global Social Venture Competition. A great achievement I must say. About their win Niyondiko says; “It is a feeling of joy and pride for us and for Africa in general, it also shows that in Africa we are not backward and that Africa’s problems can be solved by Africans themselves.” The young men worked tirelessly to assuage the condition that was gradually claiming lives and denting many economies especially in sub Saharan Africa. So they came up with something that has the capacity to bring the misery of the populace to an end. According to Niyondiko; “We thought of a repellent and larvicidal Mosquito soap which will be accessible and affordable to the majority of the population, seeing that soap is a commodity product and especially not going to add other additional costs to the population. Our soap will fulfill the desire of the population to be clean, as well as protect them from malaria, without any additional cost to them.” About the product the young men had this to say; “After using the soap, it leaves on the skin a scent that repels mosquitoes.”
The team is now working on the optimization of the soap through several clinical trials, with the aim of launching into the market by 2015, starting from Burkina Faso. Their aim is for the product to reach a huge number of people and they plan to start from home; Africa. You know like the saying goes; “charity begins at home”. Since their recent victory and accomplishment, great doors of opportunity have been opening to these great African pacesetters.
Now if you ask me, I will say for sure that these minds have conceived and achieved an awe-inspiring feat that clearly needs to be celebrated. In Niyondiko’s words; “Our goal is that our soap is widely distributed to reach the largest possible number in Sub-Saharan Africa and other parts of the world affected by malaria. This is to say that NGO’s will be our potential customers for the distribution of our products. After the victory obtained in Berkeley so many NGO’s spoke to partnership with us in order to distribute our soap in different parts, even outside Africa.” These great men have done the extra-ordinary, not for any selfish purpose but for the love of other men and for their home; Africa. They went whole distances essentially for love and service to Africa.
And now, a few words I have to say; think not my friend of what your country or continent can do for you, but think, meditate and act on that which you can do for your country or dear continent. Best wishes from Konnect Africa as you put your minds to work.