Early actions to stop the spread of COVID-19 and help the most vulnerable
During the COVID-19 crisis, Business Partnerships Platform (BPP) partners are focused on protecting the wellbeing of their staff, repurposing their resources and networks, and finding ways to support livelihoods through their supply chains.
Here are a three stories of how our partners are leveraging their unique social impact business models to support their communities during these challenging times.
Calling upon informal networks to promote health-seeking behaviour in India
Pollinate Group, a solar energy social enterprise, has a large network of female entrepreneurs who, in normal times, sell clean energy products in dense urban settlements. This is a major strength for Pollinate and allows them to draw upon the networks of entrepreneurs rather than imposing a top-down distribution system for the products.
In this crisis, Pollinate has realised that the distribution network is also an important information channel, and has supported female entrepreneurs to provide community‑level information about health and hygiene through remote communications. Pollinate is also working with local partners who have a licence to distribute rations under the lockdown and tackling how to get economic packages to those who need it most.
In Bangalore, Pollinate Group entrepreneur Lakshmi’s (pictured above) entire community lost access to food and many also lost their daily wage jobs. Via phone, Pollinate and Lakshmi coordinated with a local NGO which has a licence to distribute emergency food supplies during the lockdown. When the supplies arrived, while following hygiene advice from the Pollinate team, Lakshmi led the distribution of food in her community, mobilizing community members to go door to door and drop off the supplies. She then visited later to ensure everyone had received food. Lakshmi continues to take precautions to stay safe and shares how to do this with her community. Lakshmi was applying the skills she has learned with Pollinate to help her community in a crisis.
Leveraging networks and supply chains to produce personal protective equipment in Kenya
KOKO Networks, a tech company in Kenya, is a part of Safe Hands Kenya (SHK), a mission-driven alliance of Kenyan organisations that is deploying free soap, hand-washing stations and masks while disinfecting public spaces to limit the spread of COVID-19 in low-income communities that have limited sanitation. SHK is prioritising its activities for those in most need – in the informal settlements, where social distancing and other recommended approaches to curbing the spread of COVID-19 are near impossible asks. SHK has launched interventions in parts of Nairobi and is now working to scale-up across Nairobi and other at-risk communities across the country.
As well as committing team members and resources to work on this urgent project, KOKO is leveraging its last-mile distribution networks to help distribute these products. For KOKO, it is critical to help support Nairobi’s urban communities, many of whom are clients and rely on KOKO’s ethanol cookstoves and clean fuel in their households every day – now more than ever.
Using corporate expertise to help combat the spread of false health information in Sri Lanka
Dialog Sri Lanka is one of the country’s largest telecommunications providers. During the COVID-19 crisis, Dialog realised there was an issue with people receiving false information about how to protect themselves from COVID-19. In response, Dialog has re-purposed their expertise in information and telecommunications to set up a public hotline providing trustworthy COVID-19 updates and health advice.
Dialog has also committed to funding urgently required Intensive Care Units in hospitals selected by the Ministry of Health. The funding will increase the access to critical care services for patients and expand the health system.