Sosense will assist the Magrabi Foundation in revamping its communication and fundraising activities, based on our state-of-the-art online platform technology and processes. The aim is to broaden the Foundation’s donor basis, as an interim step to becoming a financially self-sustaining social enterprise with huge growth potential.

Eye health care service, for the poor, is an ethical imperative. However, from a social entrepreneur’s perspective, it also represents a business opportunity and a hugely untapped market. The Magrabi Social Enterprise; thereby, tackles a market segment with the utmost social impact in mind: preventing blindness, by standardizing cataract eye surgeries and providing basic eye care to the world’s most marginalized individuals.

Worldwide, the blurring of the eye lens, known as cataract, accounts for more than half of world blindness – about 20 million people. Moreover: it is needless. The loss of sight can be cured by a highly reliable eye surgery. However, according to the WHO, 97% of all people that suffer from cataract eye-sight caused disabilities live in low income regions, do not have the financial means to afford surgery and/or access to quality proven health care services.

Patrik Elsa (CEO of Sosense) and Andreas Renner (Sosense Business Development & Research) were hosted for a 3 day workshop, last week in Cairo, on a mission to assist the Magrabi Foundation’s new Executive Director, Tamer Makary (as Patrik, a co-fellow of the BMW World Young Leaders Network), in its transition from a charitable foundation into a sustainable social enterprise, based on a scalable business model aiming to prevent “needless blindness” for the poor in Egypt, the Middle East, and beyond.

It became very clear that the Magrabi Foundation is in a unique position to catalyze partnerships that make it a world leading provider of eye care services for all – with no discrimination related to income, religion or ethnic affiliation.

  1. It has best-in-class capacities for training & education on all levels, including eye surgeons, paramedical staff, nurses, hospital management, as well as blind or visually disabled people that are bundled in a joint venture with the international organization, Christoffel Blinden Mission (‘CBM’), through the establishment of the Egypt Institute for Community Ophthalmology or ‘EICO’.
  2. It builds on a, more than, 20 year track record of successful partnerships, with leading global, regional and local organizations, as well as running outreach programs through local vision centers and mobile caravans.
  3. The foundation greatly benefits from the high recognition of its decorated founder, Dr Akef El-Maghraby, within the international ophthalmology community, as well as from synergies with the family’s businesses that include one of the largest chains of specialised eye hospitals in the world and other related eye care businesses (surgical equipment distribution, optical retail and lens manufacturing).

A key for successfully reaching people, at the base of the income pyramid, is affordability. Inspired by the world’s largest provider of low-pay eye surgeries, India’s Aravind Eye Hospital, Magrabi developed an organizational set-up that allows it to reduce the costs of eye surgeries to a fraction of the costs experienced in the developed world, without compromising quality. The Foundation’s price segmentation policy and tiered payment strategy, enables the Group to provide services, for free, to those who cannot afford the associated costs.

This social business model will be fully tested in the anticipated launch of the Magrabi ICO Cameroon Eye Institute, currently being constructed, which will serve as a blueprint for replication and scale throughout the developing world, beginning first with Central and Western Africa.

The “market” seems to be close to unlimited. Dr Gamal Ezz Elarab, Medical Director of the Magrabi Foundation, stated that in Egypt alone, there exists a need for approximately 400,000 cataract eye surgeries to remove the backlog alone (excluding new cases) and prevent severe eye sight disability or blindness, inspiring ambitious targets for the Magrabi eye care service social enterprise.

Published by Sosense