Innovative online communities to improve livelihoods and health in Nairobi

Every1Mobile is connecting low-income shopkeepers and consumers in urban Nairobi through digital communities, supporting them to strengthen their livelihoods and improve family health.

UJoin is a mobile-friendly online community for owners of base of the pyramid shops (dukas), helping them to build their businesses, while at the same time improving the health of their community. Through the UJoin platform, duka owners can access business and financial management courses, online mentoring, peer-to-peer forums to connect, learn and share with fellow duka owners and access product information from Unilever. 

They also have the ability to set up a digital shopper loyalty scheme, giving their customers access to exclusive vouchers. This exciting opportunity, made possible through a collaboration with Unilever Kenya and Vodafone, and Mezzanine has been essential in helping us expand the UJoin offering and sign up new participants. Currently, dukas who drive high levels of redemption earn free health insurance. One UJoin duka owner has said: “I have learnt how to arrange products in my shop, how to talk to my customers and how to get more customers through products on UJoin.”

Within our current scope, we have reached 500 duka owners based in the urban slums of Nairobi. Currently, our duka owners have signed up roughly 1,500 of their customers, with new customers being signed up to the loyalty scheme every day. We release vouchers on a weekly basis, and in December 2017 5,100 e-vouchers were redeemed, with 31 duka owners qualifying for free insurance. With continued support from TRANSFORM, In 2018 we intend to extend our offer to 3,000 dukas and 50,000 consumers.

In parallel to launching UJoin, Every1Mobile has piloted UAfya, a community for young mothers and mothers-to-be based near UJoin duka owners. UAfya allows these women to connect, share and learn about topics such as nutrition, hygiene and breastfeeding best practice.

The pilot, run through a combination of digital platforms and WhatsApp, brought together 50 women in a series of moderated conversations. Impact was assessed throughs surveys to measure knowledge, attitude and behaviours. Our ambition is to develop UAfya further into a holistic online community, giving young mothers across Nairobi access to online learning, peer-to-peer sharing and the opportunity to access exclusive UJoin discounts.