South Lake Tahoe local’s nonprofit confirms $2 million deal with Kenyan government
In 2012, South Lake Tahoe local John Cefalu traveled to Africa for a charity trip at the age of 17 — and it ended up changing his life.
After observing health issues in Kenya, Cefalu was inspired to create sustainable means for the population to create its own soap, and Health 2 Humanity (H2H) — an organization focused on empowering developing countries to create lasting hygienic solutions — was born.
Now a few years down the road, the organization has grown substantially: To date, H2H has started and sustained 13 businesses in Africa, created over 30 jobs, helped eight entrepreneurs get to college, distributed over 75,000 bars of soap throughout Africa and saved sponsored locations over $1,000 on hygiene products per year.
The organization also recently signed a $2 million partnership deal with the Kenyan government, and is close to finalizing a deal of the same magnitude with the Ugandan government.
The Kenya collaboration includes developing a local hygiene factory, which will provide over 500 jobs and distribute over 20,000,000 hygiene products over the next 10 years.
“We are honored for the Kenyan government to not only recognize our efforts, but help us fund the new factory in Bungoma County. Our partnership will immensely help the regional and national economy, reduce preventable diseases and open nine new locations with local entrepreneurs, creating a sustainable business model,” noted Cefalu.
H2H team members met Kenyan government officials at a conference in Los Angeles in September 2016, and had agreements in place by the end of January earlier this year.
From there, H2H piqued the interest of the Ugandan government. While the deal is structured similarly to the one with Kenya, the Ugandan contract would generate 200 jobs and 5,000,000 products over eight years. The deal is not yet confirmed, but H2H Uganda CEO Denis Toolit is scheduled to enter final negotiations with the country’s prime minister next week.
H2H is also in the process of purchasing a manufacturing facility in Maine. The United States production is currently housed in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“Seeing H2H manufacturing facilities being contemplated and agreed upon in Kenya, Uganda and the U.S. shows how much hope our brand really brings to the globe,” said Cefalu. “More importantly, it shows that the world is ready to work together to see progressive change.”
Cefalu is also eyeing the possibility of expanding to Costa Rica and Nicaragua by next year, and encourages donations to help “keep the story going.” H2H is actively seeking investments from Tahoe locals interested in supporting and getting involved with the organization’s efforts.
“All of this success is something that I would never have been able to do on my own. Tahoe is an amazing place to have started this journey, and I am so grateful to have so much support from my hometown.
“I can’t wait to see how the community can get even more involved after learning about all of these amazing opportunities,” Cefalu said.