Updated: Jun 8, 2022
"One of the things I love about OCC is their dedication and that they are committed to support their participants." - SOSO Care, 2nd price winners, OCC 2020
We are happy to present the second testimonial from our 2020 challenge where we present our 2nd price winner SosoCare. Soso Care is a Nigerian-based company offering a service for people in developing countries enabling them to collect plastic waste and deposit it as a financial resource to access basic health insurance. The team was mentored by César Couto Ferreira.
In this post, we get to hear from SosoCares founder and CEO, Nonso Oporum about how he came up with the idea of SosoCare and his experience of being a part of our challenge.
Tell us a bit about your solution and how it contributes to a more sustainable ocean and/or ocean economy.
SosoCare is a low-cost health insurance that accepts cash or recyclables as a premium to enable millions of people to access healthcare across over 1000 hospitals in Nigeria.
My country Nigeria, just like many other developing countries, faces two major problems; pollution and lack of access to healthcare.
Every year, over 30 million tons of waste is generated in Nigeria which accounts for over 20 billion plastic PET bottles of with less than 5% recycled. Lagos state alone, with a population of over 25 million, is estimated to produce about 14000 metric tons of waste daily which is equivalent to about 490 trailer loads of solid waste daily. This create environmental problems, cause pollution, and public health issues as well as affect marine life when they are dumped into our rivers or the ocean.
The second problem is that over 180 million people, roughly 90 % of the Nigerian population, do not have access to basic health insurance. With over 100 million people already living below the poverty line, out of pocket health financing means more people are dragged into poverty every year from unexpected health spending.
These both problems are huge and catastrophic but they also hold a potentially high market value. So we as a company started to think about how we could solve these two problems with one solution - which resulted in SosoCare. By enabling people to pay for their health insurance with recyclable waste we can make sure that more people get access to healthcare. By giving more people access to healthcare we can reduce poverty by reducing the number of people getting permanently ill or dying each year from conditions that can be solved with proper and high-quality healthcare.
By linking these two problems together we are killing two birds with one stone by addressing poor healthcare access, sanitation, environmental and ocean sustainability.
How have you experienced participating in OCC ?
OCC is a great program and I am so glad that we participated in this challenge. This is the first time our work was recognized for ocean impact and I am very grateful for that. One of the things I love about OCC is their dedication and that they are committed to support their participants. The mentoring and training session was great and focused on sustainability.
What will be your journey going forward?
As part of our mission to reach 500,000 people. This year we will explore more opportunities in the ocean-sector which includes bringing fishermen into the fold of insurance using their old nets and plastics from the ocean as premium.
Any encouraging words for those considering innovating for a more sustainable ocean?
I think the most important factor is to find and validate what works. Find a need, a problem, and then try to think of ways how this can be solved in a sustainable way.
The context of ocean sustainability differs across markets. For example in Nigeria, which suffers from poverty with 100 million people living in poverty and thousands of people dying from preventable diseases that won't cost more than $20 to cure, the idea of providing people health insurance premium using recyclable waste as an alternative form of payment to mitigate ocean pollution becomes visible. In a developed nation such a solution won't be needed. Find what works and follow that path.
We would once again congratulate SosoCare and we hope that you all are as exited as we to follow them on their journey! If you want to read more about SosoCare and what they do, check out their website: https://sosocare.com/
When the ocean breathe, we breathe. 💙
Tune in to #OCC2021