Masanga Hospital Sustainability Enterprises ("MHSE")
The vision of MHSE is create businesses in the Masanga community, with strong links to Commercial Partners in Europe, that will ultimately grow to fund around one third of the running cost of the hospital and thereby strengthen the financial sustainability and at the same time generate local economic development, economic growth and jobs.
An important part in this vision is to build strong and mutually beneficial relationships with Commercial Partners in Europe (so far exclusively in Denmark) that create value for both partners and are healthy enough to continue when the project is turned over to 100% local leadership. Sierra Leone has become one of the highest growth economies in Africa (albeit from a low base) – representing an important market opportunity for many international businesses. For these companies Masanga has something to offer. Besides the economic aspect, the story about MASANGA Hospital plays a strong part in our Commercial Partners' Corporate Social Responsibility ("CSR") strategies.
We are always keen to welcome new Commercial Partners for both our current businesses and for future business opportunities.
The Business Manager is Wusu Conteh who lives in Masanga and with the support of MHSE is striving to build successful businesses. He has 16 local workers employed in the different businesses and is periodically assisted by an intern from Europe.
Today MHSE includes a tailor workshop, using damaged rubber inner tubes to make various fashion products, such as computer bags. The products are sold as Fair trade products in Denmark (www.bangura.dk). The agriculture business is now mainly a nursery responding to a growing demand for palm trees both by locals and bigger plantations. We also have a canteen, a kiosk and a Carpentry shop primarily servicing the hospital.
Progress so far
The business potential in Sierra Leone is huge. However, despite considerable efforts, MHSE has experienced many difficulties in generating a surplus for the hospital. Experience to date has been characterized by many exciting initiatives, started by different volunteers who each had their own strategy for how the businesses should be managed – but few of these plans have been successfully followed through to a level where they made a difference.
In 2012 MHSE set out on a new track by defining a new strategy that resulted in the first donation to the hospital in June 2013. We have made the business section leaner to concentrate our effort on what we do best and where the short term potential is greatest. We also plan to strengthen the local management ability to communicate with the Commercial Partners in Europe to facilitate closer cooperation and support through their CSR program. We also plan to increase the use of interns with the specific skills needed to develop local capability in our businesses.
The primary focus in the last 6 months has been on our bicycle workshop, tailor workshop and tree nursery.
An intern has trained the local Business Manager in accounting, report writing and using email, enabling us to make better long term plans and facilitate more effective support.