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Hello, I’m Thomas Locke and this is Five Minutes, the podcast that brings you closer to the people fighting malaria.

In today’s episode, I’m joined by Joan Nalubega, the Founder of Uganics. Uganics makes and sells mosquito-repellent soap. It’s received worldwide attention after the news agency Reuters, shared Joan’s story online.

This is Five Minutes with Joan Nalubega.

Joan, thanks for joining me. Tell me more about Uganics.

Uganics is fighting for a malaria-free world. The big idea is to utilise existing habits to introduce a solution that can truly great impact. Uganics makes an effective organic solution to eliminate mosquitoes through an everyday product. So to reach those most vulnerable to malaria in malaria-affected areas in Africa, we target two groups and we make primary impact relevant to the people in malaria-affected communities with lacking access to suitable protection. Secondly, to the eco-conscious tourists who are looking for a natural way to prevent mosquito bites. By selling our product to resorts and hotels at a high margin, the provision of soap to the people in rural communities can be cross financed and those people who are very poor in rural communities of Uganda can get an affordable effective solution out against the spread of malaria. We also provide sensitisation campaigns to communities to raise awareness about the spread of malaria, the signs and the possible ways of preventing it. We do this sensitisation through hospitals, especially the government hospitals would organise the sensitisations with us.

What have been your biggest challenges in creating and running this social enterprise?

As Uganics, we have a challenge of creating trust among our customers. Since mosquito repellent soap is somehow new on the market, especially on our target group, it’s a bit hard to prove to our customers that it really works before they use it to confirm. Though we are really working on it, we’ve conducted different tests and studies about the product using trusted professionals and referencing them. We hope by the middle of this year, we’ll have different studies made about our product and we’ll have things to prove our product. That’s one of our biggest challenges at the moment.

What does the future look like for you? Where do you want to take Uganics in terms of your aspirations and goals?

The most important thing is to achieve my vision of creating a malaria-free world through this product and to make this product accessible to everyone, especially the people who are very vulnerable and can’t afford any other products on the market. I want to make it affordable as the products they’re using right now. I want to make it cheap and affordable and at the same price that these guys are buying their soap. I hope to make awareness, I hope malaria to be known, to sensitise, to make awareness about every fact about malaria so that people can identify malaria and how to prevent it. I want, by the end of the day, want to see no one suffering from malaria. I want to eliminate malaria in the world and I want everyone to know about it. The other thing is I’d like to make a lot of employment opportunities for youths through our production, through our sensitisation, through every activity that we do in the company. Right now, we have a small project of empowering rural women doing agriculture to grow their hubs that were used in producing the essential oils we use in our product. I want to make this agriculture beneficial to them. We train them on how to grow those things and how to extract that always from it so that we buy the oils from them as well and they are also getting some income to sustain themselves and their families and also they are getting even the income to buy our product to protect their families.

Joan, thank you very much.

If you’d like to learn more about Joan and Uganics, you can go follow the links below:

Learn more about Uganics

Joan Nalubega & The Anzisha Prize

Al Jazeera YouTube video

Reuters Video