As our RISE Fellowship draws to a close for our 2020 cohort, we have taken some time to reflect with our fellows on their biggest accomplishments and the lessons that they have learned over the past year. Below, you can read more about our Tanzanian RISE Fellow, Hoyce Mshida, and her achievements whilst piloting her social enterprise, SAFI soap.
"What have you managed to accomplish in the past year?"
I started the year by analyzing 50 households in the Longido region to understand how many hygiene associated diseases were present amongst the communities. I then created a social enterprise called SAFI and trained 20 women to make a variety of soaps using locally available materials. Additionally, I taught 50 households about the importance of good hygiene and showed them how to wash their hands properly. I also installed tippy taps for the households that did not have access to handwashing facilities.
I was inspired to do this work after understanding the significance of access to hygiene through my PhD research. I was driven by the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic and wanted to turn my research into an entity that would support the prevention of infectious diseases, including COVID-19 in Maasai communities.
Since setting up SAFI, my employees continue to meet every Tuesday to prepare soap which is then later sold within their community. Whilst they work, they discuss various issues related to their womanhood, families, and the future of the soap business. I often visit the group to support them with capacity building and to be a source of encouragement.
"Why did you choose to work in Longido?"
Longido is one of the most marginalized communities in Tanzania which has a significant amount of hygiene-associated diseases. These illnesses have resulted in a high mortality rate amongst children below the age of 5, which could have been prevented through the use of soap. I knew from my research the importance of improving access to hygiene, and I wanted to use my career to support people in my community to lead long and healthy lives.
"What does the RISE Fellowship mean to you?"
The RISE Fellowship means a lot to me because it enabled me to achieve my career goals and turn my dreams of assisting and supporting women into a reality. I share RISE's passion for financially empowering women and improving access to hymarginalizednsforms the health of marginalizedrginalized communities.
The fellowship has strengthened my skills which helps me to succeed as an entrepreneur. They have also connected me with a variety of mentors who supported me to scale up my business and I have received personalized supported based on my organisation's needs.
"What work do you plan to do in the future to continue supporting access to hygiene?"
I plan to scale up the social enterprise to ensure that the whole of Northern Tanzania has access to hygiene facilities so that they can prevent illness. After the RISE Fellowship, I plan to seek additional support so that I can continue to grow SAFI soap and impact more lives.
"What has the past year taught you?"
To create a long-lasting impact, it is essential to practise patience and remain committed. This is a long, yet worthwhile journey that requires a lot of time, effort and dedication.
A video of RISE Fellow Hoyce dancing with her employees and their products.