Meet our new RISE Fellow, Junior Bakasa!
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
We are so excited to introduce our second cohort of RISE Fellows! Junior Bakasa is our new RISE Fellow in Zimbabwe and the Founder of OV Products, a detergent manufacturing social enterprise which supports underserved communities in urban and rural Zimbabwe to access to hygiene products. Through her business, she aspires to sustainably alleviate hygiene poverty in Zimbabwe whilst empowering marginalized women through including them in her manufacturing and distribution processes.
Continue reading below to learn more about Junior and her social enterprise.
"Junior, can you share with our community more about yourself? What were you doing before your entrepreneurial journey?"
Before my entrepreneurial journey, I had a hard time finding permanent work in my country, jobs are hard to come by. I would get 3-9 month gigs but it was not enough. Deep down I was driven by the need to work for myself and charter change on issues I was passionate about. I then went back to the drawing board and connected with an issue I was passionate about, water, sanitation, and hygiene and that is what got me to where I am today.
"Can you tell us more about your work with OV Products Ltd?"
In Zimbabwe, roughly 74% of the population lives on less than $5.50 a day (below the poverty line) and so hygiene becomes a luxury as families have to decide between putting food on the table or addressing water, sanitation and hygiene issues.
OV Products works to improve this problem by manufacturing and selling hygiene products at factory prices to the community. This will provide an alternative solution to expensive products that are found on the market and in turn reduce the number of deaths caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene issues.
"What inspired you to dedicate your life to this work?"
In my country, some people can afford a decent living but most people are living in absolute poverty. I wanted to use my work to find a solution to a cause that I was passionate about. After observing what was lacking in my community, I created OV Products Ltd. I am also a humanitarian at heart. I remember that when I was growing up, I wanted to work for the United Nations just so I could be part of something bigger than myself and so committing my life to this path was easy for me. I found my space and I am doing my bit to leave this world a better place.
"What do you hope to gain from this experience?"
I am so honored to be a part of this fellowship and I hope to gain exposure to best practices that can allow the initiative to impact more people. I am confident that through the RISE Fellowship, I will be able to transform the health of my community.
Inspired by Junior?
Donate to invest in her success as she works to improve access to hygiene in underserved areas. Your support has the potential to transform the health and safety of whole communities.