Located in the town of Githongo in the tea and coffee region of Kenya; a few miles north of the Equator on the northeast slopes of Mt. Kenya, Rays of Hope (ROH) is a small community health clinic. With full time work by Murithi Marangu, its founder, and a part time staff of a nurse, laboratory technician and community facilitator, the dedicated team provide laboratory services for malaria and typhoid, the dispersement of medicines and drugs, counseling for HIV/AIDS, testing and post test counseling, and home health care. They also provide maternal, prenatal and child healthcare, as well as Community Education classes. House calls are made for those in the community unable to travel to the clinic. All of these services are provided at no cost or for a minimal fee.
During a visit in 2012, the Gnu Foundation team discussed different ways that we could assist the clinic’s staff and programs, and we determined that providing a “Social Business Grant” was the most supportive and sustainable option. With the Gnu grant, ROH has built the “Moonlight Cafe” a ‘milk bar’ (serving local foods and non-alcoholic drink) which is staffed by clinic volunteers and the food and produce is purchased locally — creating a ‘virtuous circle’ of employment and supply-chain puirchases from ROH affiliated staff and businesses. A ‘social business’ is fully consistent with the operations and strategy as that of a traditional ‘for-profit’ business, but all the profits are poured back into the host business to support its social nature and the metrics by which one measures the success of the business are related to a social goal — in this specific case the underwriting and support of the Rays of Hope health clinic.
We are excited by this co-operative venture with Rays of Hope and look to the expansion of other supportive businesses in the community.