SC Johnson is one of the newest members to join the Private Sector Constituency to the Global Fund, a group of companies that are passionate about ending the three diseases and bringing a business voice to the work of the Global Fund. SC Johnson manufactures and sells household goods and products for home cleaning, home storage, air care, personal care and insect control. Founded in 1886, SC Johnson is among the oldest privately-owned US multinational companies and is currently run by fifth-generation Johnson family members.
Base of the Pyramid Group
Twenty years ago, SC Johnson set out to help the world’s most vulnerable populations by founding the Base of the Pyramid (BOP) program, which enables mosquito-borne disease prevention in global communities by delivering affordable offerings that are tailored to the world’s poorest four billion people. Mosquito-borne diseases can have a devastating effect on individuals and communities, and SC Johnson is committed to helping protect people in vulnerable, difficult-to-reach communities. The BOP program leverages the best of commercial and philanthropic strategies to maximize social impact and achieve financial viability at scale.
Making an Impact: SC Johnson’s BOP Strategic Principles
SC Johnson’s BOP program aims to drive continual progress against mosquito-borne diseases like malaria through these strategic principles:
- Scale for greatest impact: Pilot and implement initiatives that have a clear path to scale in multiple countries and regions.
- Provide access: Deliver lifesaving, user-desirable and affordable interventions to people in poor, vulnerable, and difficult-to-reach communities by leveraging supply chains that are new to the company and by strengthening existing ones.
- Leverage core competencies: Use their expertise as the leading manufacturer of household pest control products to deliver solutions that enable mosquito-borne disease prevention.
- Seek strategic partnerships: Capitalize on the power of partnerships with government, industry, and nonprofit entities to create impact that goes beyond what SC Johnson can implement independently.
- Build social enterprise models: Create social impact through initiatives that aim to achieve financial viability at scale.
As Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson explains, “insect-borne diseases are a serious threat to families around the world. We remain dedicated to continuing our leadership in researching insects to help improve family health.”
Examples of work done so far by the BOP program:
- Implemented mosquito traps for the prevention of malaria in the Ghanaian village of Tafo.
- Invested in efforts like the Rwanda Pyrethrum Project to improve incomes and standards of living for pyrethrum farmers (pyrethrum is a plant-based insecticide extracted from heads of dried chrysanthemum flowers).
- Partnered with Cornell University’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise to explore new ways to help reduce the transmission of malaria with a business model that brought repellents and insecticides to rural families.
- Teamed up with The Coca-Cola Co., Solarkiosk and Society for Family Health Rwanda as part of the EKOCENTER program that provides water, sanitation, solar energy and products at rural retail kiosks run by women.
Throughout the 2017-18 fiscal year, the BOP program reached more than 1.7 million people across seven countries with local programs designed to teach mosquito bite prevention strategies. Through support of community health posts in Rwanda, more than 60,000 people gained access to health services – and these posts are expanding with the company’s 2019 commitment to build 40 more health posts. More broadly, the BOP team has engaged with 1,000+ community members in their villages and homes, and 150+ members of ministries of health and NGOs working on reducing mosquito populations, mosquito bites and mosquito-borne disease prevention methods.
Case study: The importance of listening to communities
One example of the BOP’s work can be found in Rwanda. A woman named Sonia is a subsistence farmer who lives in the village of Gatsinsino in Nyanza Province, Rwanda. Every member of her family has been affected by malaria. Through a local health clinic, Sonia learned how to protect her family from mosquito-borne diseases – by sleeping under mosquito nets, clearing brush around the home, discarding stagnant water and using mosquito repellents. Even though Sonia recognizes the importance of these activities to protect her family, she must make difficult choices with the fluctuation of her daily wages, which are dependent on her work tending crops. At times, little is left after she buys food and pays for her children’s school fees, leaving her family more vulnerable to mosquitoes that may carry disease.
While malaria interventions are available to Sonia, they can be disruptive and difficult to accommodate between the demands of work and family. For example, when government workers visited her village to spray homes with an indoor residual repellent spray, she declined because of her intense work schedule.
The BOP team spent time with Sonia and learned that they need to provide solutions that are not only accessible and affordable, but seamlessly fit into her life, align with her priorities and make her life better. To address this challenge, they are partnering with organizations like Notre Dame and Unitaid to develop and advance mosquito repellent products for inclusion in global public health programs.
By listening to the communities they work with, the BOP program is able to develop solutions that help meet the population where they are and can drive change more effectively.
Learn more about SC Johnson’s Base of the Pyramid program here.
The Global Fund Private Sector Constituency is a group of companies that are passionate about ending the three diseases and bringing a business voice to the work of the Global Fund. The constituency helps improve the Global Fund’s governance and shape the strategy of the Fund. Member companies contribute in many ways to the success of the Global Fund beyond purely making financial contributions, with pro-bono services, direct and indirect support for strengthening health care systems, and through research and development and direct supply of health products.