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October 2019 mission programme social enterprise

This fourteen-day mission took place during the first half of October (2019).

Mission team: Dr Lorrie Vandeginste (coordination), Jan Leemans (logistics) and Lieve Vanrusselt (consultant fruit and vegetables, product development). Read this brief report of our activities and achievements:

Production activities

As in every mission, full attention was again given to all standardized processes, quality control and hygiene in the three departments of our factory: soy dairy, bakery and kitchen. Correct adherence to recipes and procedures is checked, questions are answered. Test' recipes, when ready for production, are introduced into the actual production system. The sales of all our products have been monitored since our previous mission (March 2019) and specific attention this time was paid to sales in our second kiosk which is now open since May this year. Much time was spent on the labelling of our products and the problems that occur due to moisture and temperature differences (e.g. from the cold room to the kiosk); The existing labeling system and the labeling procedure were slightly modified in anticipation of our new designs. Some of these new labels were applied as a foretaste to see how our customers think about it and the reaction was very positive.

New products were developed namely peanut milk and during this mission a recipe for papaya juice; as everyone's enthusiasm they were immediately included in our product range.Separate tests were done with adding spirulin to peanut milk for a PhD project in collaboration with OVO (Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs); the test product tasted good and maybe this is a way to make our peanut milk even richer in the future!

Organizing and maintaining the freezers was better explained to our employees as freezing food is a new concept for them; e.g. putting fruit and bread in separate compartments, not freezing chillies, and emphasize the need for regular defrosting and cleaning of the appliances.

We were also pleased to get the request from some local street vendors to sell our sandwiches ("gateaux"); it shows once again that our sandwiches really do appeal; we were able to make an appointment with some vendors to agree on a price that is advantageous for both parties.

Incontinence project: 

Our new incontinence consultation room is now definitely in use.Two new designs for washable incontinence material were explained and taught to our seamstress.These designs are now better tailored to the needs of our incontinent patients than our first design ('System 1'). Now we have a new 'light' incontinence system that consists of a washable pad with flannel inserts ("system 2") and a 'heavy' incontinence system that consists of a washable adult nappy with flannel inserts ("system 3").During this mission we were able to help 13 patients with one of our washable systems.These patients came for consultation before the fistula mission led by UNFPA in Hopital St Luc and were more or less incontinent.We have also created a new Solfa incontinence file that will be used by the maternity nurses and should give us a better picture of the evolution of each patient ex. reduction of their incontinence, feedback on the usefulness of our materials, improvement of their state of mind.  Furthermore, we have emphasized to the nurses that each patient must be followed up by telephone after two weeks and a follow-up consultation after 3 months.  In case of a fistula operation, a telephone follow-up must be done two weeks after returning home.  It is the strict intention that these files are kept in the Solfa incontinence consultation room for consultation.



From now on, our seamstress will also be present in our new consultation room every Wednesday; at that time she will be able to make our washable materials and give the necessary explanations about the systems to the nurses and patients (e.g. need to wash the flannel inserts three times before use).

During this mission we also made our liquid soap several times using wood ashes; we also filmed the process so we can show our patients how to make this soap themselveT


Plans for the futur: 

Medical missions: we plan 2 mission repair surgery for 2020 :

 1. Mikalayi ( Occidental Kasai ) 26.01.2020: team: Dr Gunter De WIn, Dr Jan Ardui, Dr Jean Ndundu, Dr Abbé Paul Ntweba, Piet Eelen, Jeanne Leën and Gonda Martens. This will be the first fistula recovery mission in this remote large Zone de Santé.  This zone has been included in our prevention campaign since 2017, which means that posters and cartoons about 'giving birth safely' have been distributed in several Postes de Santé.

2. Kisantu (Kongo Central):date yet to be determined: mission led by Prof. Dirk De Ridder (KUL); this mission will pay attention to new patients but also to complex cases that could not be operated during the recent UNFPA mission  

Educational project:

Initial meetings took place with two teachers from the Jesuit school in Kisantu to discuss an educational project in which Solfa would provide a study space for students from the last three years of secondary school. 

The aim of this project is to allow students to do independent work outside school hours in order to improve and/or deepen their knowledge of French and mathematics subjects.  Students will be asked to sign up in advance for one or more sessions (of 1 hour) and will have access to a computer and the internet. They will also be asked to explain (in writing) exactly what they intend to do with this extra study time.  All this will be done under the supervision of a teacher and with parental permission.  The feasibility of this project will be further examined in the coming months in communication with these two teachers; necessary materials and infrastructure, location of the study area, necessary authorisation, cost estimation etc.

Next mission social enterprise is planned for March/April 2020 with the main goal to bring our new pasteurization machine into use for our milk and health drinks.


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