Guinea Conakry : fighting cholera and Ebola outbreaks through a social business

In 2006 and 2007, several cholera outbreaks struck Guinea Conakry. Around 9,000 cases were reported in late 2007 (WHO, 2009). The disease continued to spread rapidly in 2008, reaching up to 442 cases weekly (WHO, 2009). Because most of the chlorine needed to battle the disease was imported, the fight was protracted and inefficient.

Antenna decided to act and, by 2007, had established Tinkisso-Antenna in Conakry. Its main purpose was the sale of 250 ml bottles of active chlorine, called Chlore C’, for only GNF 5000 (CHF 0.54). One bottle allows a family to disinfect its drinking water for approximately one month. Tinkisso-Antenna produced the solution locally using WATA technology and sold it through social marketing campaigns in healthcare centres, hospitals, marketplaces, door-to-door, pharmacies, mosques and churches.

Diarrhoeal diseases were much less prevalent in the Dabola region, where Tinkisso-Antenna was active. A large majority (92.5%) of the local population stated that the introduction of Chlore C’ was the main contributor. As a result, UNICEF and other local NGOs have supported social marketing activities and distribution of chlorine solutions countrywide.

Tinkisso-Antenna has also contributed socially through the employment of 129 people, including 27 women, thereby promoting a local solution to the cholera epidemic.

General objective : Reduce water-borne diseases through the distribution of chlorine flasks

Beneficiaries : About 3,000,000 (2015)

Cumulative units sold : 12 million (2015)

Partners : Ministry of Health of Guinea, PSI, UNICEF

Project duration : 2007-2018

Lessons learnt :

  • Given the fact that sales in remote areas are economically more costly and challenging, Tinkisso had to rely on the support of humanitarian agencies in order to perform social marketing activities in these regions. It used its own resources for commercial marketing in more urban areas.
  • In order to increase the impact of social marketing activities, Tinkisso also collaborated with community institutions such as mosques, churches, schools and community centres. This led to a higher likeliness of people adopting new behaviours (Camara, 2017).
  • It is important to consider the complexity of combining humanitarian action with more sustainable market-based approaches and calls for innovation in defining hybrid public-private partnership collaboration models to reach scale for HWTS (Duvernay & Camara, 2016).

See the Tinkisso website (in French only).
Read the article on Sustainable access to drinking water through the development of a social enterprise in Guinea
See the Safe Water Business Perspective