[Startup Interview] Musawa Mukupa, Founder, Health Literacy Zambia
Despite spirited efforts to provide affordable education to all in Zambia, more than 80,000 children of school going age are out of school, with a worrying trend of school drop outs in a country whose literacy rate stands at 55 per cent.
On the other hand communicable, non-communicable and nutritional diseases remain the biggest contributors of mature deaths.
Health Literacy Zambia, a start up in Lusaka has been focusing its attention on women and children, a constituency that still struggles to access basic education and healthcare.
The institution runs seminars, screening and medical camps to take these services to the underserved.
Musawa Mukupa the founder of the start up talked to Africa Business Communities about the idea behind the company, the interventions so far, the impacts they are creating and renewed campaign against lifestyle diseases like cancer.
Give us a brief about your company
The full name of the organization is “HEALTH LITERACY ZAMBIA” abbreviated as HLZ.
It was established by two students Musawa Mukupa aged 22 years and Harrison Ngulube 21 who are highly motivated and committed to contributing their time, skills and energies for the development and empowerment of socially disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in Zambia and addressing health, poverty and gender based discriminations.
The main objectives of the organization are to deliver help under health, education & nutrition services for women and children, to arrange forums, seminars and camps for disseminating virtuous living habits, moral values and methods of developing self-confidence and to create centres throughout the country for the above activities and to create awareness among the people concerning drug and alcohol abuse. We also aim to inspire healthcare development and health advancement and to support in the process of social incorporation and personal realization of underprivileged children, young people, adults and families.
Where is the company located?
Health Literacy Zambia is located in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital.
When was the company founded and why?
The company came to existence in founded in 2017 with a view to meeting the pressing needs of socially disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in Zambia while addressing health, poverty and gender based discriminations.
How is the company funded?
The organization is funded by well-wishers, but it has recently been noticing growing interest from companies.
What are your company’s unique selling points?
Health Literacy Zambia is the only youth organization that is trying to solve the society’s health and education challenges holistically.
Why does what you do matter?
Our engagement focuses on ensuring we bridge the gap in addressing society’s most pressing issues in education and health. These two elements if well invested in have the power to help society and the nation at large to develop.
How has the market responded to your services?
Due to the scarcity of these services, the market has been quite responsive to our interventions. Whenever we call for a health screening meeting and education gathering, the response has been overwhelming.
Who are your clients?
Our clients are the members of the general public with the vulnerable able and women being the major target due to their vulnerability to access medical and education services.
Have you had/or are you planning any strategic partnerships?
We have had partnerships and intend to have more partners. We are currently partnering with Chibwe Lumpa under the Reach One Child Campaign, a program intended to raise funds for the vulnerable children and help them either stay in school or get back in school for those who have dropped out.
This programme is a partial fulfilment of HLZs Punzisa Zambia project. We are also in the process of making partnerships with some community schools and women centres to form breast cancer awareness centres to help addresss breast cancer through self-examination and awareness as a way to detect the disease in its early stages.
Other partnerships we intend to make are with the cooperate world to help sustain the organization. We are open to more partnerships.
What would you consider your greatest achievement so far?
Our health promotion project was the largest and longest standing health promotion project we had in reaching more people at Zambia’s biggest airport, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at the traveller’s health care shop.
The health promotion project involved screening of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. We also had an information desk for medical advice on cancer with emphasis on breast, cervical and prostate cancer.
And the setbacks?
The organization from its inception has faced great challenges in regards to transport and logistics.
The organization has not yet acquired offices despite the great desire by the members to acquire offices. The failure to acquire offices is attributed to the fact that the organization has insufficient funds and no reliable donors at the moment.
The organization has from its inception depended on contributions from its members who are students and the largest burden falling on the leaders of the organization.
However the Board has in the past weeks been planning to start fundraising for infrastructure development that will have offices for the management, Board room, clinic, HIV counselling centre, a mini conference hall.
We are however thankful to Global Platform Zambia that has accommodated us to host our various meetings and also use their address. This has helped us have a location for our various meetings.
With many important programs on our agenda, it has been hard to have sufficient funds to run them all.
What does your company need to grow and prosper?
The organization is in great need of an enterprise that will act as a source of funds. To supplement this, constant donors and well-wishers including the cooperate business through social cooperate responsibility can sponsor its programs.
What is the latest news?
We are scheduled to open breast cancer awareness centres soon and will also be having a reach one child campaign in partnership with other organizations a campaign that will see many vulnerable children get to school.
Who should contact your company and why?
Organizations that share the same objectives with us. We also would like to hear from corporates and sponsors who would like to see the work of improving the lives of the vulnerable improve with regards to health and education. Volunteers and those who wish to offer knowledge to improve our skills as youth can also contact us.
Africa Business Communities is conducting a series of interviews with startup businesses in Africa.
Are you a startup in Africa and interested in an interview? Great! Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org