School of Population Health

Social Business and the Kinu Foundation

Interview with Dr Elizabeth Kpozehouen, medical doctor trained in China and Research Associate at UNSW Sydney, Australia.



Where do you work?

I work at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, but am also involved in social business through a foundation called the Kinu Foundation.

Tell us more about the Kinu Foundation

There are low employment rates amongst the youth in Tanzania, and women are left behind economically in comparison to men. The Kinu foundation aims to create jobs and alleviate poverty among communities in Tanzania – targeting underserved populations (particularly females and younger people in rural areas).

The Kinu Foundation commenced social business activities in 2017 in the Ruvuma region in southern Tanzania. We provide microcredit loans to assist people who find it difficult to get loans elsewhere. The purpose of the loan is to assist them establishing or developing a new business.

Kinu is actually Swahili for mortar and pestle (mota and passo). When products are processed using mortar and pestle, they always come out in better condition: more refined and useful. We hope the Kinu Foundation does just this – providing an opportunity for women and younger people to improve their lives.

What inspired Kinu Foundation?

What inspired me to establish the Kinu Foundation was the reality that communities can help each other to achieve development goals – whether individually or in groups. Issues in communities can be solved within communities, with assistance from other community members.

Has social business been beneficial?

Social business has been sustainable so far. The funding placed through the Kinu Foundation’s social business has been used over and over to benefit more and more people. I believe there is dignity and responsibility when people receive loans for their business, rather than gifts or charity.

We have also seen the power of social business in integrating members of communities – bring individuals together to start business groups under the umbrella of social business.

What does the future hold?

There are plans to start profit generating businesses that will support our micro-lending project. We also hope to see Kinu Foundation activities spread geographically further, across all regions in Tanzania. We also hope to see other social business groups to bring their businesses to Tanzania – so we can work together.

We welcome everyone to come and visit our Facebook page to learn more about the Kinu Foundation and track our project updates.