reach52 in review 2022

We witnessed tremendous growth in reach52, improving health outcomes for residents living in our partner communities, and creating even greater value for our clients and funders. We implemented a total of 13 campaigns across 2500 communities and expanded to two new countries – South Africa and Myanmar. Read on for our milestones, highlights, impact and case studies in underserved emerging communities and hear from the humans of reach52: in-depth perspectives from a resident, Agent and a government doctor!

reach52 CEO Edward Booty recognised by Meaningful Business in the 2023 MB100

Now in its 5th year, the award celebrates leaders combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Global Goals.

Check out the 100 outstanding individuals which include social entrepreneurs, CEOs, sustainability leaders and impact investors from 39 countries, all working to tackle the world’s most pressing issues:

reach52 awarded as 2023 Recipient of the Global Health Innovation Grants by The Pfizer Foundation

We’re excited to share that with support from The Pfizer Foundation’s Global Health Innovations Grants program, we’re helping drive community-centred solutions to strengthen healthcare systems and address vaccine-preventable illness. 

reach52’s campaign in the rural communities of India and the Philippines aims to improve awareness, demand and uptake of the COVID-19 booster, through a mix of door-to-door community engagement, targeted social media campaigns and peer-to-peer information sharing. 

We envision to 

🔎 Understand the unique needs, challenges and perspectives of community members regarding COVID-19 vaccination 

👫 Foster community trust, enable personalised conversations, and address local concerns and vaccine hesitancy 

🗣 Share accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19 infections and the benefits of vaccination 

Till date, we have trained 250+ Community Health Workers through this campaign, engaged 25k residents through door-to-door engagement and 53k residents through targeted social media campaigns. 

Check out the fellow grantees and learn more about the Pfizer program:

Action on NCDs: How the innovative pharmaceutical industry helps bridge the care gap

Whether we suffer from high blood pressure or mental health issues, or know someone who has faced a cancer diagnosis or undergoing treatment for diabetes – NCDs (Non-communicable diseases) impact all of us… 

Yet global commitment and action to address the burden of NCDs is not on par with their impact on our everyday lives. 

reach52 is proud to contribute and be featured as a case study in this report that outlines four interconnected fronts that guide the innovative pharmaceutical industry’s action on NCDs: 

💉 Innovation: Investing in the discovery of new medicines and vaccines to prevent and fight disease 

🗣 Availability: Promoting policies that drive expanded access to care 

🙋🏽‍♀️: Empowerment of people living with NCDs: Ensuring the design and implementation of policy solutions are co-created with people living with NCDs 

🏥: Capacity building: Working with health systems and their funders to build capacity that can effectively prevent, diagnose, treat and manage life-long conditions. 

Read this important report and check out case studies of other organisations working tirelessly to build capacity, ensure access to care, and empower those living with NCDs. 

What’s the hype about decentralised healthcare…?

Helping to eliminate inequity in healthcare but tailoring solutions to communities and end users is key.

Many examples of decentralisation use digital solutions to bring healthcare directly into the hands of consumers. However internet access is not universal. reach52 tackles remote access issues by designing a platform that works offline, powered by a human component to encourage use and empower residents to manage their health conditions.

Why should we look into decentralising healthcare? Benefits include
⛑ Customised care to meet specific needs of communities
⛑ Agile response and rapid mobilisation
⛑ Cost-efficient and targeted engagements
⛑ Fewer inequities as we increase access to healthcare

In order for decentralised healthcare to be successful, it is essential that we design solutions customised to the needs of the end user.

Scalable impact through local partnerships: Views from a Growth Partner

Penabulu Foundation is an established civil society resource organisation and national implementor based in Indonesia. They have been an important Growth Partner in reach52’s expansion into Indonesia, enabling us to rapidly recruit, train and digitally equip a large network of reach52
Agents in Banten province.

Mr. Nanang Andi Setiawan, President Director of Penabulu Foundation shares his views on barriers to healthcare access in Indonesia and his experience working with reach52.

What are some of the biggest obstacles faced by Penabulu Foundation in delivering healthcare access to residents in Indonesia?

Healthcare facility availability and quality constraints. Despite the presence of supporting and mobile Puskesmas (health centers), the quality of equipment and services are still very limited. As a result, they cannot address some of the community’s health issues, particularly those related to infectious diseases. Sub-health centers and mobile health centers, for example, cannot treat malaria, tuberculosis or

Quality of medicines available to the public is not well controlled. Distribution of medicines and health supplies is still governed by the health service, and people’s access to high quality medicines must be improved.

Unequal distribution of health workers. Majority of existing health workers prefer to work in cities, hence many people in rural areas are underserved and have to go to the city center to see a doctor.

Financial constraints in public health. Even though residents are provided health insurance through the Health BPJS (Social Security Organising Agency), there are numerous obstacles that one must overcome to use this health insurance. Not all health insurance facilities are available. As a result, residents must sometimes pay for their
own treatments.

How has working with reach52 impacted your work providing healthcare to local communities?

reach52 helps us collect public health data, encourage community involvement and foster a sense of shared responsibility towards public health. This has been extremely beneficial to Penabulu’s community health programmes. Our collaboration with reach52 is part of our effort to increase the involvement of the private sector and civil society organisations in Indonesia’s health sector.

In launching our Growth Partner model, reach52 pioneered a results-based funding model which incentivises impact, alongside resources such as use of our tech platform and staff capacity building. What do you feel about this partnership model?

reach52’s implementation of a results-based funding model with impact incentives in developing Growth Partners has proven to be quite effective in data collection and capacity building in the health sector.

Meaningful partnerships between the public and private sector: Views from a Local Government Doctor

Dr. Rodina Mondragon, Municipal Health Officer of a rural health unit (government-owned health centre) based on Pototan, Iloilo in the Philippines, shares with us how the private sector can work with governments to improve local healthcare systems, and how working with reach52 has impacted her work.

What are some ways the private sector can partner with governments to improve local healthcare

Private sector partnerships create utilisation of multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary expertise to create health structure efficiency, cost effective use of resources and deliver desired policy outcomes that are of public interest. These are some concrete examples of the value of private- public partnerships:

  • Direct access to private sector logistics and finance to fill the gap in the distribution of medicine
  • Partnerships help augment number of human resources delivering services to the community, speeding up the trickledown effect.
  • Partnerships with the private sector shorten the bureaucratic process of procurement that complicates and delays services.
  • Partnerships foster innovation and access to government funds without the constraints of regulatory policies made by the government.
  • Partnerships result in the scalability of good practices.

Task-shifting by upskilling Community Health Workers to engage residents allows us to overcome
traditional access barriers and shortage of traditional health workers in MICs. What do you think contributes to the success and effectiveness of these task-shifting roles?

Training volunteer health workers to educate the public, counsel and conduct advocacy allows us to deliver more services to most people in a short period of time.

The success of this strategy is the capacity of these health workers who come from diverse educational backgrounds to pick up the necessary knowledge and skills required. Understanding where they are coming from, the economics of their family and incentivisation of their effort serves as a motivation to make projects successful.

How do you think innovative digital health tools can help support local health systems in underserved communities?

Digital health tools shorten the process of healthcare delivery, allow inclusion of more people in the grassroots and assist health workers in the analysis of recurring problems from the community level up to the local government unit and national level. Complete and prompt data is important in decision making, reducing delays to interventions and in halting infectious transmissions that can result in a

How has working with reach52 impacted your work providing healthcare to local communities?

One of the pilot reach52 campaigns was the provision of an affordable anti-hypertensive and sugar control medicine delivered to patients’ doorsteps. It was a big help to many living far from the town center, especially with the increase in transportation costs. The campaign to provide insulin at a
very low cost was a success as well, and able to lower mortality rates.

On a qovernment level, data on blood pressure allowed us to document the profiles of at-risk patients and plan for a bigger budget to tackle noncommunicable diseases. Deep diving into such campaigns with reach52 made us realise that the local government needs partnerships like these which are high in engagement and low in resources, to provide better health outcomes for more people.

Opinion piece: Building Better Business

By Edward Booty, CEO of reach52

As I head off from SOCAP Global, the largest impact investing conference in the world, a few reflections… and a pretty big announcement about our future! Long post, bear with me!

There was a distinct irony of getting into San Francisco, getting the train into town, and ending up involved in breaking up a fight between two groups of homeless people. Nothing sets the scene for a conference about social justice and inequity than something like this – it feels a bit like Black Mirror dystopia sometimes; the Bay area has generated more multi-billion tech and other companies than anywhere on the planet, yet homelessness, cost of living, and many other social issues are getting worse.  It’s clear that the system is so broken.

 Some key takeaways

  • There was a distinct lack of global health sessions at the conference – very domestic agenda. Is this America pulling back from the global stage? I hope not
  • Some interesting themes challenging the effectiveness and relevance of ESG. Is it only relevant for investor risk management?  How to link it to communities, not just investors’ risk … The links between impact – housing, health, nutrition, education, etc, implemented together. Does ESG even matter if shareholding and the wealth is still concentrated with investors?
  • At a personal level, I’m glad that climate felt top of the agenda – regenerative economy, no one can make any returns if the planet dies; ‘nature is the only dividend in perpetuity’
  • Only 2% of assets under management (from investment firms) are dedicated to impact’. Flipped, it can be interpreted that 98% of funds invest in single bottom line, for-profit only businesses. This is disheartening
  • Great session on monitoring impact and reporting. Often its for the funders and not actionable. For us, we might have to measure two diabetes campaigns in two different ways for two funders… Does this keep impact innovation perpetually subscale? The function of evidence is essential, but we need to think like mega-scaled solutions (e.g. Amazon, Google, etc) that are simple track, e.g. rate your experience out of 5, not varied, lengthy data collection for the same product category
  • Generally, I find myself frustrated with the big talk but low action. We know what needs to be done, we know it needs more money, but things aren’t progressing fast enough. SDGs are meant to be met by 2030 – it’s not going to happen. I’m sitting on the flight feeling that my role used to be to go get my hands dirty and try and try to find a business model that improves health access and can scale – but now I want to get my hands really, really filthy. And get my feet wet and muddy too. There’s just not enough being done!
  • COVID wasn’t mentioned much (if at all). I swear we’ve already forgotten the pandemic – where’s ‘noone is safe until we’re all safe’ gone? The momentum of having resilient and robust health systems for all seems to have dissipated within 6 months or so, wtf
  • Never been more confident reach52 is on the right track, I know what we are building is going to move the needle somehow but feel we’re innovating in an outdated system
  •   I’ve got pretty detailed notes from sessions I went to – if any of the above interests you, more than happy to share / DM me!

At the end of the day, I want to see social impact; and I’m pro-business, pro-profit, want our investors to make a return, and our partners to make affordable products available and grow sales… I want reach52 to make a lot of money… But when the team and our partners look back, I want us to say we did it the right way.

After the conference I couldn’t sleep; couldn’t shake this question out of my head… despite the disappointing stats, and the fact we are waiting for a system to change, is there any way we can rethink our business structure that better drives the double bottom line? Our investor and Board Member was in town for another conference, we met for a beer on Thursday to talk this through – and by the time we’d finished our first pint he was onboard!

 Starting today, I want reach52 to:

  • Reinvest 52% of reach52’s profits back into our mission (when we are eventually profitable – noting we invest in growth and impact now). Investors can make returns, we can generate profits too
  • Have the reach52 team to own reach52. About half the company will be owned by the team – if you work for reach52, you own reach52
  • Get the health workers, our field agents, involved too. I don’t know how yet, but I sure want them to get some upside; they deserve it, and need it more than us, are the most important part of our model, and we need to think about how we decentralise wealth better
  • Personally pre-commit my shares / any returns I get to an investment fund to back people like us that can’t raise much money from traditional investors. I’ve realised I don’t do this for the money in the slightest way, just kind of want to see some change

For all the partners and investors that have made this possible so far, I’m eternally grateful. But you’re in the 2%.

Opinion Piece: Experience is nothing compared to cultural fit, attitude and drive – but you can’t screen that from a CV

by Edward Booty, CEO of reach52

Building culture and a team; and how we have to do it all again.

Team, team, team.

I’ve said it, investors say it, companies often fail because of it. Why is it so hard!

I’ve already shared my thoughts on (the pain of…) hiring ( But what about culture? Why do some people work out and others don’t? What is a ‘great culture’, why do people care, and how do you build it?

Firstly, sorry, this is not a passage of wisdom. There is a huge amount of work to do for reach52 to have the culture and drive we want and need.  If anything, this is at the ‘I haven’t been able to do this yet’ end of the spectrum.

Especially as, when I’ve asked our team about what they like/dislike/want more of/want less of, you often get polar-opposite responses – it’s hard to make something work and align to 50 free-spirited humans!

Let’s start with why this is important. Our lead VC from a previous round told me about the ‘no asshole rule’ once, which is as simple as it sounds: avoid working with assholes.

We often spend more time at work than with our family and friends. So it matters, as it’s a majority of what we spend our conscious, temporary, finite life doing… unless you retire at 40, which ain’t gonna happen for most of us… (2052 is when I hit retirement age – so I’ve often joked I just want to reach ’52).

So, step one, just avoid assholes. And lazy people, as that will just piss off the team. 

Then, assuming you’ve got some nice people that will do their hours and deliver the outputs on time to the best of their ability… I’ve tried a fair few things to build our culture, categorised into three:

1.      Having shared values and vision, that are implemented well… such as sharing stories of teammates that exhibit values, factoring it into performance appraisals, etc

2.     Team ‘work focused’ initiatives, such as workshops about key problems we are facing across countries and cultures

3.     Team social initiatives, such as virtual happy hours, external talks

But these didn’t work for various reasons… Cross-country team video calls are hard. For us English as a second language can be an issue across the countries. People don’t want more Zoom/Team calls, some people want more socials out of hours, some want less! Many problems aren’t for virtual workshops – they are deep issues that require small working groups and focused effort from the most knowledgeable team members…

If I’m honest with myself, our culture was better when we were smaller… is this just part of growing up…? The scrappy days locked in an office with pizza are gone, and now I need to focus on being an ‘SME’ / growing business, changing the approach to something slightly more ‘corporate’. Alas, being in six countries now and based on where we’re at, I think the answer is yes.

There’s no shortage of startup literature, that are sort of easy to read, and hard to implement… Be collaborative, feedback, openness, transparency from the top… We’re always pushing this, and have more work to do.

And, I do feel reach52 is different to many, I think everyone is here, regardless if they want a pool table in the office, flexi-hours, or no-assholes, because they care (at least a little bit) about the mission…. As a VC said to me last week: ‘you are an interesting founder, I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but you seem to care about your customers more than money, whereas many founders just care about making the business model work’. Bit depressing, but we are a mission-driven company. Customers and impact first.

With hindsight, it’s probably much more important than I realised right at the start. Get a good, stable core – which links to my ‘finding co-founders’ points in previous posts. It’s harder to change later (both for finding your comrades, and building the ‘vibe’ you want with them).  Getting the right core team that drive the right behaviours and values is probably the best thing to do, and what I’m focusing on now.

Accept many aren’t like you – I think that has been one of the tougher things for me.  My dream culture would be ‘work hard, play hard’: team workouts, plenty of sarcasm and banter, and ample drinking (at different parts of the work day, of course).

I love late nights in the office, I miss it as we’ve grown and had more resources… but that’s not what many want, so having a central ‘thread’ of what you stand for that can manifest itself in different ways for different people is probably the central theme.

Attitude and drive is key. I tell our team that I like working with people I trust, and I define trust as executing on time, and to the best of your ability for any given task. This is relevant for the most junior or most senior member of the company. When I look at my most trusted teammates there isn’t a pattern – some went to top schools, some didn’t. Some were at startups before, some were at NGOs. Some are in their 20s, some 30s and 40s.

Ultimately, I think you have to get a read in the interview, and look for signs of true drive and strong attitude… some dream answers for me might be ‘I wanted to get into product, but I was in accounting, so I took on unpaid internships out of hours to get the experience’, or ‘at university I saw an opportunity for ABC, so me and my friends tried a startup/project to address this…’, or ‘I was in a big corporate, but no one really cared about my business unit, it was only me really so I did a bit of everything and really had to just get it off the ground myself’. All see opportunity, and are self-starters to try and make sh*t happen.

It seems the experience here is somewhat shared…

In terms of hiring, the founders I interviewed recognise that finding the right talent is difficult. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being easy and 10 very difficult, they gave an average rating of 7. They gave fundraising 6.

In terms of traits, having the right culture fit is the one quality that most of the founders look for in a candidate. They emphasised that they always look for people who fit the core values of the company and are aligned with its vision. The lack of culture fit has also been the top reason why some hires have not worked for them.

The other traits and qualities that these founders value are as follow, in no particular order:

·       Good work ethic

·       Hunger for knowledge

·       Ability to self-manage / can think and speak for themselves

·       Having the right skills, expertise, and experience

·       Tenacity

·       Empathy

·       Good leadership skills

Ultimately, I got a pool table, ping pong table, mini golf and dartboard for the offices. Like with many other companies, it’s not used. This is the culture I want (work hard, play hard…), but it doesn’t suit many others. And quite right too! They aren’t the founder, and rightly want (and have…) a social life beyond work.

I find more ‘culture’ by having a network of founder friends that ‘get it’ – so in reality my needs are nourished out of work too nowadays. Creating mini versions of a founder isn’t a good thing, but we do need people that take more ownership of their role, which gets harder as you get bigger. Accountability is now what I’m pushing for.

So, what? My current focus is to try and really clearly explain our vision, mission, values and plans to keep people aligned. Focus on what you feel is right, without over-analysis.

Be strict in hiring, and I want to get stricter. And strict on performance appraisals. Ask for feedback on culture building activities, appreciate differences and cater for them – do different events for different types of people. Trust your gut if someone isn’t the right fit and going against the core values you want.

A lot of work to do, but my current view… Culture is pretty organic and hard to transform through superficial, ad-hoc events or purchases – it’s down to the people you hire, and how you work together to achieve the mission, and how you try to embed them in daily work routine, celebrations; and performance appraisals, with associated rewards (and ‘punishments’).

Covid19 Vaccines: Kabalo ka bala?

Q: Wala bala sang peligro ang bakuna kontra COVID-19? Makahatag bala ini sang COVID-19? 

A: Wala sang peligro ang bakuna kontra COVID-19 kag indi man ini makahatag sang COVID-19 virus. Gin paidalom ini sa estrikto nga testing kag napamatud-an nga ini epektibo sa pagtapna sang grabe nga balati-an, pagka-ospital, kag kamatayon. 

Q: Ano ka-epektibo ang bakuna kontra COVID-19? A: Ang bakuna kontra COVID-19 kay grabe ang epekto sa pagbulig sang immunity kag proteksiyon batok sa grabe nga balati-an, pagka-ospital, kag kamatayon. Napamatud-an man nga epektibo ini sa pagtapna sa original strain sang virus kag variants

Q: Nga-a importante ang pagpabakuna kontra COVID-19? 

A: Importante ang pagpabakuna kontra COVID-19 angod maprotektahan ang lawas batok sa grabe nga balati-an, pagka-ospital, kag kamatayon. Ang COVID-19 pwede mangin isa ka grabe nga balati-an ilabi na kung ikaw wala mapabakunahan.

Q: Pwede ka pa gid bala makahatag sang impormasyon nahanungod sa bakuna kontra COVID-19 kag ang iya nga potential side effects? 

A: Madamo na nga mga tawo sa kalibutan ang nakakuha sang bakuna kontra COVID-19, napamatud-an ini nga wala sang peligro kag may ara lang sang mild side effects. Ari ako subong para magahatag sing dugang nga ihibalo nahanungod sa potential side effects kag kung paano ang pagkontrol sini. 

Q: Ano ang akon nga buhaton para maprotektahan ang akon kaugalingon batok sa COVID-19 vaccine misinformation? 

A: Magkuha lang sa lihitimo nga mga impormasyon sang masaligan nga mga sources, pareho sang healthcare providers kag public health organizations. Magpabooster dose agod maprotektahan ang kaugalingon kag hikayaton ang komunidad nga magpabooster man. 

Nakakita ka bala sang bag-o nga kaso sang COVID-19 ukon sintomas sini sa inyo kumunidad?

Q: Nga-a kinahanglan ko magpabakuna kontra COVID-19 kung indi man ini grabe nga balati-an? 

A: Kung ang iban nga tawo nakabatyag lang sang mild symptoms halin sa COVID-19, ang iban naman makabatyag sang grabe nga pagmasakit kag gina kinahanglan nga ipa-ospital ukon nagakapatay. Ang pagpabakuna makabulig tapna sa paglapta sang virus sa mga indibidwal ukon miyembro sang pamilya kag komunidad nga dasig duktan sang masakit. 

Q: Ang bakuna kontra COVID-19 makapabag-o bala sang akon DNA? 

A: Indi, ang bakuna kontra COVID-19 indi makapabag-o sang imo DNA. Ang ila ginaubra kay nagabulig sa immune system kilala kag nagabato kontra sa virus. 

Q: Makakuha bala ako sang COVID-19 halin sa bakuna?

A: Indi, Indi mo makuha ang COVID-19 sa bakuna. Ang ila ginaubra kay nagabulig sa immune system kilala kag nagabato kontra sa virus.

Q: Nga-a importante nga magpabooster? 

A: Napamatud-an nga ang immunity nga halin sa bakuna kay naganubo kung magdugay, amo ina nga importante nga magpa-fully vaccinated kag magkuha sang booster doses. Kag labi ka importante, napamatud-an man sa pagtuon nga ang side effects sang COVID-19 booster dose kay indi grabe kag ginaanggid sa iban nga primary vaccine series short-lived.   

Q: Kinahanglan ko pa bala magpabakuna kung nakaagi na ako COVID? 

A: Huo, napamatud-an sa pagtuon nga ang bakuna nagahatag sang mas maayo nga proteksyon batok sa bag-o nga variants kag nagapanubo sang risgo sa grabe nga balati-an, bisan sa mga nakaagi na COVID. 

Q: Bataon pa ako kag maayo ang lawas. Kinahanglan ko pa gid bala magpabakuna? 

A: Huo, bisan bataon kag maayo ang lawas sang indibidwal mahimo nga mangin grabe ang balati-an halin sa COVID-19. Ang pagpabakuna indi lang makahatag sa imo sang proteksyon pero makabulig man hatag proteksyon sa mga tawo sa imo palibot nga dasig maduktan sang masakit. 

Steward Commons: Addressing health access in rural areas

Honoured to be part of the Steward Leadership 25, awarded to organisations that have shown steward leadership excellence. Stewardship Commons spotlights examples of creating economic value while integrating the needs of society, environment and future generations, inspiring a bigger ecosystem of better businesses incorporating social values and priorities into their core model.

Check them out for stories and content on ESG, sustainability, responsible investing, steward leadership and more.