Celeste Ndagizimana, a resident of Musanze town, started a small retail shop that struggled to attract customers. It was like operating a hand-to-mouth business.
For years, the basic household items that dotted his shop were the revelation of the struggles. But in early 2012, a friend advised him to invest in Society for Family Health (SFH) products as well.
And, after a lot of cajoling, Ndagizimana finally gave in to the idea. The rest is history. “The results were amazing; after injecting Rwf630,000 in Sur’Eau, a water purifier, and Plaisir and Predunce condoms, I earned more than Rwf100,000 in profit after just half a month,” he says. “A carton of Sur’Eau that I procure at Rwf8,100 would be sold at Rwf8,800.”
Ndagizimana says he is always assured of buyers since safe water and family planning products are essentials. He now has to shop twice a month from SFH stores to meet the overwhelming demand from customers. “At times I have dead stock in my shop, but not for these three products (Sur’Eau, Plaisir and Prudence) at least, ” Ndagizimana says.
He says after every three months, they get training from SFH social marketing implementers to keep them abreast with product handling and use, skills they later transfer to final consumers. Ndagizimana says besides giving him training, SFH also helps transport the products to his store. He says retailers from neighbouring districts such as Burera, Gakenke and Nyabihu procure the products from him. As a result of the proceeds from dealing in SFH products, Ndagizimana has been able to construct a four-room house and also send his two siblings to school.
He hopes to fill his store with more SFH products as his capital grows .
How SFH promotes trade
According to James Byiringiro, the SFH Northern region team leader, the social marketers help wholesalers trade off some of the products by organising roadside promotions to reduce chances of dead stock. He also said their social marketing implementers go to busy places like food markets and taxi parks to promote the products Besides road shows, mobile video units are also regularly staged in trading centres, especially to sensitise people about the various SFH products.
They also use a “meet-and-greet” method where SFH social marketing implementers stand before a particular shop and direct potential clients to it.
“It’s a win-win situation and while at the same time promoting our products,” Biryingiro says. He says SFH organises an annual evaluation meeting with all wholesalers country wide where existing challenges are discussed and appropriate prescriptions made.