Impact Go – A Healthy Start 1

In the crowded giving landscape, it is hard to decide where to put your hard earned euros.  There are the mega-charities which provide a myriad of different supports across the world, from disaster relief to poverty aid.  There are charities which allow you to purchase specific items, like mosquito nets, school supplies, or water purification systems, for use by families, schools, and communities.  Another option allows you to fund specific projects from a variety of options.

However, you do not get to see where your money goes.  Impact Go offers a new and very transparent giving option.  You purchase health insurance for someone in need Africa. You get a text saying where your donation has helped someone access care.  More specifically, you are helping women and their children in need in marginalized communities.

A New Option

Impact Go’s mission is simple.  “With your help we want to provide mothers and their children with the health needs and a feeling of safety during the most vulnerable stage in their lives, conditions to which every person should be entitled.”

Impact Go is providing much needed assistance to families across East Africa.  Valentin Schipfer provides insight into some of the issues faced by expectant mothers, “pre-natal conditions are among the main causes of death in Sub-Saharan Africa and the maternal mortality rate is still very high in these regions .  Lack of skilled staff and modern technology in general hospitals often leads to complications during pregnancy and at delivery.”

There are other options for care, however, “private hospitals and clinics are only affordable for patients paying cash, often high sums, or for insured people.”

And so, Schipfer thought there had to be another option available, “Impact Go aims at providing those people with insurance coverage who need it most: pregnant moms and teenage orphans who usually could not afford health insurance.”

New Technologies and Digital Revolution

Impact Go’s mission to provide health insurance for those most in need is a laudable and large.  However, he has added more to accomplish. “Today’s image of Africa is still influenced by outdated clichés. Impact Go wants to create a new narrative about Africa for Western minds.”

Here at TEDx Vienna, we have had many speakers on the stage tell us about the exciting opportunities in the African start-up landscape.  “We want to show Africa’s digital revolution is taking place right now and it bears opportunities for unprecedented co-operations between Europe and Africa.”

Schipfer tells us a little about the environment across Africa. “There are more than 300 tech hubs in Africa and flourishing start-up ecosystems.  Unlike European entrepreneurs, founders are facing huge social, ecological, educational, and political challenges in their countries.”

The future looks bright for founders looking to cooperate across the oceans and continental divides.  Schipfer’s own prediction has Impact Go as one of many. “In a decade from now Impact Go shall be only one out of several European start-ups co-operating with African counterparts.  We believe Africa’s digitalization is key to growing Africa and Europe closer together.”

Transparency and Measured Impact

Schipfer explained what Impact Go’s method of giving provides to the market. “We simply provide a more transparent way of giving. Impact Go’s app allows you to donate health insurance coverage directly to one person in need in East Africa.  We let you check the whereabouts of the contribution and whom you have supported where. Thus, you can track your impact.”

There are fundamental differences between this giving method and others. “Instead of donating to an organization’s mission, you donate a health insurance product directly to one person.”  

Schipfer is very excited about the progress with respect to digital technology world-wide. “This one-to-one donation is made possible by a seamless and paperless process through new technology: smartphone technology in Europe and cellphone technology in Africa.” 

Finding Partnerships

Finding partners working on the ground in East Africa became a priority.  And, surprisingly, it was TEDx Vienna who provided some help. “We got in touch with the former TED speaker Juliana Rotich, who introduced us to some community tummlers from tech hubs in Africa. They helped us find start-ups which offer social, ecological or educational impact and use cellphone technology to reach their customers.”

Providing a valuable service in both Europe and Africa required research.  From market analysis to consumer surveys. This helped them to decide on partner organization Jamii Africa. “The survey showed a higher interest by potential customers into Jamii’s insurance offering than the others.”

“Luckily, I bumped into a former TEDxVienna speaker at an event, Marcello Schermer, who turned out to be Africa’s regional manager for Seedstars. He told me that Jamii Africa had just won the Seedstars Global Summit’s award and he could easily introduce me in person to Jamii’s CEO Lilian Makoi.”

And that is how the story started.  

If you want to have a positive impact on one individual today, you can go to Impact Go and support their idea with your email.  

Header Image Used Royalty Free – Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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About Jennifer Cornick

Freelance journalist and blogger for various publications in Vienna. When I am not writing, I can generally be found with a book (or anything with words on it - even cereal boxes).

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