It’s been several weeks since Camille (Project Manager) and I arrived in Musanda, where we have since been joined by Sarina, who arrived two weeks ago. We have now gotten stuck into the busy Nasio Trust community and are enjoying every minute of it.
With this in mind we started our project by reaching out to cobblers and akala (Kenyan tyre sandal) makers in Musanda and Mumias, creating valuable contacts that we hope to learn from and potentially incorporate into our project. Community engagement is key to the success of our project due to differing views in the community of the social, economic and environmental factors influencing the severity of a jiggers foot infestation as well as our limited understanding of the community needs from our UK perspective.
This summer we are completing the research and development for the Nasio Trust’s Shoes for Africa project, partnered by Kite Oxford-Nairobi, a new sustainable social shoe manufacturing enterprise targeted at reducing the incidence of Jiggers foot infestations (google if not squeamish) in the local community (particularly schoolchildren) with the additional benefits of local employment and skills development.
For this reason, we interviewed many head-teachers from local schools as well as conducted two focus groups with parents, gaining a greater insight into community shoe wearing and purchasing practices as well as attitudes towards jiggers prevention. Additionally, we have attended a jiggers removal clinic that has deepened our understanding of the pain of those suffering from the condition as well as strengthened our determination to provide a long term sustainable solution to the issue that may be replicable in other communities.
From our initial research, we are considering ways to revise the initial business model of the social enterprise to be more efficient and effective in jiggers prevention for vulnerable kids. This has included consideration of a more holistic approach to reducing jiggers through an educational campaign and proposed projects that will seal floors and maintain clean home environments. In the following weeks we will continue conducting research including market surveys and contacting government officials to build upon our model.
As always please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like more information.
Michael (Marketing and Product Development Director)