Living Goods

Living Goods: Taking Health Door-to-Door

A compelling problem: A billion people don’t have access to basic health care and technologies, and there are still few models that can sustain the services of community health workers over time.


Defeat diseases of the poor

The idea

An Avon-like network of village-based Health Promoters selling essential, affordable health products and teaching healthy behaviors door-to-door

How it works

  • Assemble a line of affordable, high-impact health products
  • Hire dynamic Community Health Promoters: women who will sell the products door-to-door
  • Train and manage Promoters to sell products, deliver basic health education, and make referrals to local clinics
  • Ensure that a full and diverse basket of goods creates sufficient income for Promoters

How it will go to scale

Via NGO’s (including Living Good’s own growth). Donor subsidies will be used to create revenue-positive operations and to expand
to new areas. Revenues in more profitable regions will cross-subsidize more remote settings.

Progress so far

Scale up: 1000 Community Health Promoters (CHP) working in Uganda, with average annual sales of ~$1000 per CHP. An expansion into Kenya is underway.

Visit the website

Over 25,000 people die each day for lack of proven health products that cost less than a cup of coffee –

things like malaria medication, home water purification and oral rehydration solutions. Living Goods (LG) gives people access to these simple, proven health products through a model similar to the one Avon has used to build an $8 billion business in 100 countries. Health Promoters do more than sell- they teach healthy behavior, refer the sick to clinics, and serve as health resources for their communities. Living Goods was created by Chuck Slaughter, who founded TravelSmith, and helped build CFW Shops, a network of storefront clinics in Kenya. Living Goods launched in Uganda in 2008 in partnership with BRAC, one of the largest, most effective social service organizations in the world. Since then they have also started their own propriety distribution network, LG Direct. Living Goods combines the latest and best practices from the worlds of microfinance, franchising, and public health to create a sustainable system to confront diseases of poverty.

A compelling problem

A billion people don’t have access to basic health care and technologies, and there are still few models that can sustain the services of community health workers over time.

A scalable solution

Mulago assesses scalability based on five characteristics common to efforts that have taken lasting impact to scale.

Real impact: For start-ups like Living Goods, Mulago assesses whether there is clarity about impact, a logical case for it, and good M&E to assure it. Living Goods will save lives through access to key products, changes in health behaviors, and referral to health facilities. They have already established a baseline for a randomized trial of health outcomes.

Cost-effective: The costs of health goods and services are recovered through sales, so the subsidized cost should be much lower than other community health worker models.

Lasting behavior: H: Health Promoters earn a living from their activities (and are well-supervised) and consumer purchases trigger self-reinforcing healthy behaviors.

Easy replication: TThis simple micro-franchise business model is designed for straightforward replication. The LG product mix and sales techniques can be changed to adapt to new settings and the model can easily be grafted on to existing microfinance networks like BRAC.

A viable route to scale: Micro-franchise sales have the potential to drive the growth of Living Goods as a social enterprise and its success should drive adoption of its model by other NGO’s and perhaps governments looking for a way to support community health workers.

Capacity to deliver

Founder Chuck Slaughter is a proven entrepreneur who built and ran a $100 million business prior to founding Living Goods. Over the past four years Chuck has done an outstanding job engaging and working with a world class distribution partner (BRAC), bringing on board a very capable senior management team and raising the funds necessary to launch and build the organization.

updated June 2013