Where Social Business and Community Health Programs Intersect

The success of community health programs, particularly those based on volunteers, are often threatened by high rates of volunteer drop out and inconsistent performance. For organizations like CARE, who champion dignified work and raise-awareness around unpaid work being a barrier to women’s empowerment, asking some of the poorest communities to simply volunteer their time is difficult to do.

Financial incentives have been found to be one of the most important factors associated with improving retention and performance in urban slums, but lack of financial rewards remains a substantial challenge to implementation and success of community health worker (CHW) programs. Social enterprise is one method many in the development community are now looking at to solve this lack of financial motivation.

Watch this video from CARE UK CEO Laurie Lee’s visit to the CARE social enterprise Live Well in Zambia; read more of his story and learn how Live Well is empowering community health workers (CHWs) through entrepreneurship.





5 Questions Answered about CARE’s Health Social Enterprise Live Well

Live Well, CARE’s health social enterprise in Zambia, was born out of the USAID funded PRISM project in partnership with Population Services International, better known as PSI. You may have read about Live Well’s CEO Charles Kalonga since he’s currently participating in an external accelerator which Scale X Design previously announced. Recently Charles connected with PSI to provide content for their current issue of Impact magazine which focuses on making markets work as a critical component to sustainable development. As a part of the issue, they wrote this piece on 4 Social Enterprises You Should Know About which included Live Well. Here are the answers Charles provided about Live Well.

(1)   Who is the market failing? Rural and under-served communities are impacted by the limited availability of health products and services.

(2)   How is the market failing? Only half of all rural families live within 5 kilometers of a health facility.[1]  The average rural family is 8 kilometers away, though distances can reach up to 50 kilometers.[2] An inconsistent supply chain means that health facilities often do not have products available for communities.    Thus, while free health care and free health products are technically available at any Government of Zambia facility, there are significant barriers for the population to receive these goods & services.

(3)   Where do you work in the market? Live Well seeks to establish sustainable operations that will reliably provide rural and peri-urban Zambians with access to quality health products and will supplement livelihoods in a country where roughly 75% of the population earns less than USD $1.25 a day, almost 8% of children die before age 5, and only 11% of children aged 6 – 23 months are fed appropriately.[3]

(4)   How do you plan to implement your vision for success/growth/scale? Through the creation of a sustainable supply chain, Live Well will reach under-served communities in Zambia with necessary health products. A team of Community Health Entrepreneurs will sell these products door to door, generating supplemental income for themselves while promoting health in their communities. As the enterprise grows, it will realize economies of scale and greater efficiencies in operations to turn a profit and become sustainable.

(5)   Why should we highlight Live Well at this juncture in time as a leading emerging social enterprise? What key milestones of success has Live Well achieved? Live Well is still a nascent enterprise in Zambia (soft-launch in Nov 2015), but in a very short time it has trained over 300 Community Health Entrepreneurs and is operating in over 10 rural and peri-urban communities. It offers target consumers a broad basket of over 25 products which includes over the counter medications, nutritional products, contraceptives, hygiene products, solar lamps and cook stoves will be added this year. Live Well has benefitted from a unique partnership between Barclays Bank and GSK in Zambia. The partnership has not only resulted in the initial funding to start the social enterprise but both companies have provided business support to guide and build the capacity of Live Well.



[1] African Development Bank, African Development Fund, Republic of Zambia: Multi-sector Country Gender Profile (2006).

[2] Id.

[3] World Bank, Zambia Poverty Assessment: Stagnant Poverty and Inequality in a Natural Resource-Based Economy (2012); Central Statistical Office, Republic of Zambia, Zambia Demographic and Health Survey, 2013 – 2014 (2015), available at https://dhsprogram.com/pubs/pdf/FR304/FR304.pdf.

Meet CARE at SOCAP 2016!






SOCAP16 will gather impact investors, social entrepreneurs, foundations, corporations, global nonprofits, and other valuable strangers all contributing to a vibrant marketplace for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable solutions in San Francisco  September 13-16, 2016. These are part of the Impact Hub Global Network, a global changemaker community and network of co-working spaces with over 11,000+ members in over 70 locations

This annual flagship event is the leading gathering for impact investors and social entrepreneurs. The focus is on cross-sector convening and gathers voices across a broad spectrum to catalyze impactful connections. SOCAP16 provides three full days of information, inspiration and connection with like-minded entrepreneurs, investors, collaborators and thought-leaders.


CARE will be there! Our very own Whitney Adams, Senior Technical Advisor for Design & Innovation for the CARE Impact Accelerator, is attending and Marilia Bezerra, Managing Partner of CARE Enterprise Inc. (CEI), is a panelist on the “The Frontlines of Blended Finance: INGOs Combining Philanthropic and Investment Capital” panel during SOCAP Open. It’s from 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM on Thursday, September 15!

This panel will bring together leading international NGOs to discuss lessons for impact entrepreneurs raising philanthropic capital or creating blended finance models. The non-profits represent diverse experiences blending philanthropy and investment including: CARE, which transitioned a donor-funded project into an independent company; Mercy Corps, which uses philanthropic capital to invest in early-stage enterprises; Winrock, which is creating environmental impact bonds; and World Vision, which launched a private company to support their economic development programming. Each speaker will focus their comments on the implications and lessons learned for impact entrepreneurs seeking to create raise philanthropic capital or create a blended finance model.

CARE will  specifically describe their experience transitioning two traditional, donor-funded CARE projects into separate, independently operated social enterprises – JITA in Bangladesh and LiveWell in Zambia and the critical role that blended capital is playing in that transition.

Please stay tuned for a recap blog after SOCAP 16 San Francisco September 13-16!

Congratulating Live Well’s CEO Charles Kalonga!

miller-center-2Charles Kalonga, CARE social enterprise Live Well’s CEO, has been selected to participate in the healthymagination Mother & Child program which addresses maternal and child heath in Africa. The healthymagination Mother & Child program is a partnership between GE and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. The objective is to improve the health of women and children in sub-Saharan Africa by training and mentoring local social enterprises that are addressing this pressing challenge. The first group of social enterprises that will receive training and mentoring has been selected. The program will also utilize Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) methodology, which has been proven and refined through 12 years of working with more than 570 social enterprises worldwide.

The 17 social enterprises selected to be in the first cohort in the healthymagination Mother & Child program will attend a three-day, in-person workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, followed by a six-month online accelerator program that includes weekly, in-depth mentoring from Silicon Valley-based executives who themselves have undergone rigorous selection and training as social entrepreneur mentors at Miller Center, as well as GE business leaders. The healthymagination Mother & Child social entrepreneurs will complete their journey where they began, in Nairobi, with an Investor Showcase event in February 2017.

Live Well, the sustainable social enterprise established by CARE Zambia, provides rural Zambians with access to health products. Building on an existing network of rural volunteers embedded in their communities, CARE Zambia has built a robust private-sector supply chain able to consistently deliver much-needed health products to previously inaccessible areas as well as create jobs and improve livelihoods for thousands of sales agents across the country. This social enterprise was designed to be for-profit, allowing it to organically scale operations and deliver strong financial returns. CARE Zambia has cultivated a network of 2,285 Community Based Volunteers (CBVs) who use social marketing techniques to drive demand for health products in rural areas.

Live Well is not the first social business to spin off from CARE! Over the last two decades we’ve incubated businesses such as JITA and Living Blue in Bangladesh and Edyficar in Peru. CARE’s Scale X Design Accelerator is taking a more intentional approach to turning donor funded projects into sustainable business models. For example, the scaling goals of some teams, including Krishi Utsho, CHAT!, Community Scorecard and Gender Equity and Diversity, are to become self-sustaining.  Congratulations to Charles and the Live Well team! Our teams are following in your footsteps!