Nigel Charengwa, U6 – St Faith’s High School
JA Zimbabwe “Apex Limited Company” at St Faith’s High School in Rusape rural recently reinvented toothpaste.
The school company is supported by Barclays Bank through partnership with Junior Achievement Zimbabwe.
As a school in rural areas with the community failing to access basic health services due to low income, Apex Limited Company took their name to heart and stretched themselves creatively when they developed Apex Tooth Gel.
With a combination of biology and market research in their community, they found their niche! From conducting market research which included interviews and reviewing reports from local leadership, the team quickly realized a major concern within their community.
While Team Apex knew their community lacked resources they were not aware how much of a concern basic health services were. A prevailing issue was dental hygiene, specifically tooth decay and halitosis.
The team felt certain that an effective and economical intervention could reduce this problem. Once they identified this concern in their community, they put their JA Zimbabwe Company Program skills like budgeting; planning, problem solving and team work into the development of Apex Tooth Gel.
Their finished product is homemade, affordable, and environmentally friendly and reduces plaque and halitosis.
But what is it made from? Here is where science and innovation come in. The tooth gel is produced from the microscopic cellulose fibres found in cow dung!
The company conducted experiments to test whether the fibre, which is a key ingredient of the powder, could remove plaque.
Their sample group consisted of 15 students who used the toothpaste and the results were favourable.
But Team Apex wanted their product to be certified and knew that could only happen if the toothpaste was truly suitable for human use.
The team decided to take their toothpaste to Rusape General Hospital and have it tested to ensure it met health standards and was suitable for human use. With this final test, they were able to secure certification for their product.
Apex Tooth Gel is now sold in the Rusape community for one dollar per packet. This is fifty percent less than other toothpaste products are sold for on the market!
So far the product is growing in popularity due to affordability, effectiveness and availability.
Team Apex Limited Company is planning to supply the product on a national level after they complete school.
Their hope is to be able to create employment for themselves as well as for other unemployed young people.
The writer, Nigel Charengwa, is the Production Manager for JA Zimbabwe Apex Limited Company & Upper Six Student at St Faith’s High School.
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