Last week the NY Times carried a fantastic story about a recent, burgeoning microfinance idea in Africa. Several groups s are franchising African women to go "house-to-house" to sell goods that improve lives.
The franchise business model is one that has been successful for over a hundred years. So why shouldn't it work as well in Africa as anywhere else in the world?
The latest one covered in the Times is "Living Goods," which provides low-cost health items, such as sanitary pads, soap, de-worming pills, iodized salt, condoms, nutritionally fortified foods, kits for clean delivery of babies, malaria treatments, bed nets, high-efficiency cookstoves, solar lamps and cellphone chargers.
The delivery model works just as well for Living Goods franchisees and customers in Uganda as Avon does in the US and all over the world. Everyone benefits. Living Goods trains the women it franchises to educate customers and sell the health goods, thus providing them with good incomes. Customers gain access to low-priced health supplies that improve the lives of their families.
This is spirituality at its best: spreading a better life from person-to-person.