Portfolio Learnings | Kasha’s role in empowering women for health and self-care
Published on: 20/12/2018
Focused on women’s empowerment for health and self-care, Kasha is a mobile e-commerce platform that, with the support of TRANSFORM, has been selling and delivering women’s health and hygiene products in East Africa.
The project has exceeded expectations, enabling thousands of women at the Bottom-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) to access products such as sanitary pads, contraceptives, soaps and lotions. In the meantime, it also saw the launch of the Diva programme and Student programme.
Headquartered and operating in Rwanda, Kasha has had great global media coverage over the past year. It recently presented its Final Project Report, reflecting on its results, challenges and the valuable support from TRANSFORM.
An e-commerce platform for health and self-care
Kasha provides direct-to-consumer access to quality products and information in a confidential manner, along with supportive customer service. Not only was its goal to become the largest e-commerce platform for women’s health and hygiene products in low-income markets, but it also works to overcome social stigma issues associated with purchasing women’s health products in person.
The platform is widely accessible and does not require internet access or smartphone to order and pay. Payment models are adjusted across segments for all women to gain access to quality products, from those at the BoP to working middle-income women (through the Diva programme) and students (through the Student programme). Distribution models are also optimised for urban and rural areas.
Supported by TRANSFORM, Kasha has surpassed expectations in the past year. Every month, the number of actual orders showed to exceed the order forecasts. Over 105,000 products were sold in Rwanda, serving over 25,000 unique customers, 75% of which from the BoP segment.
According to the organisation, this growth in the BoP customer segment is driven by the Kasha agents programme, which currently has over 60 agents. More agents are being trained, including four currently operating in two informal settlements in Nairobi.
With regards to customer acquisition and retention for BoP consumers, the Final Project Report noted the following key takeaways, among several others:
- Kasha agents play a vital role in driving customer acquisition and retention. Agents are trained to respond to any questions and build trust with customers, who have expressed their satisfaction with the customer service of and familiarity with the agent.
- As financial liquidity is an issue for BoP customers, Kasha is looking to partner with a microfinance institute to offer access to finance as a benefit of being a Kasha customer.
- Product selection is equally important. The perceived value of a product is what drives purchase among BoP. This “value” entails the cost of the product, the number of pieces it includes, branding look, product quality and experience. This means that, from a customer’s perspective, the lowest-priced product isn’t necessarily the best value.
- The weather sometimes presented a challenge in rural neighborhoods during the rainy season, making it difficult for customers and Kasha agents to travel to community events during these periods.
With plans to expand and scale further across East Africa, Kasha is just one of the impactful projects that TRANSFORM is aiding to improve livelihoods for low-income communities. For more information on the projects we support, please take a look at our portfolio.