Tackling Healthcare for All
From the Desk of
Our “unusual” social business journey, from Shaline’s support through her expertise and her Maverick investment to develop our social marketing into a social business unit at PSI, to its evolution and conceptualization into Viya Health today, stands as a beacon of progress.
Dear Maverick Collective community,
I am thrilled to welcome you to our first ISSUE of 2024 – Business Unusual – where we will explore the origins and evolution of Viya Health, PSI’s groundbreaking social business solution for women’s health, and the Maverick partnerships that helped us launch it.
At PSI, we understand that women’s healthcare isn’t just about reproductive health. It is also about pleasure, choices, agency, and mental health. It is about understanding how factors like age, life stage, and culture impact the way women experience sex and their well-being, and addressing the barriers that stand in the way of their health and happiness. We see an opportunity through Viya Health to realize an ambitious and transformational vision for holistic women’s healthcare.
At the core of Viya Health is the VIYA brand, an end-to-end solution that promises a frictionless user journey, conceived, and designed as a model for, by, and with women, where the consumer is CEO. VIYA brings together Viya Health products based on the user’s specific market and supplements them with other products and services our consumers need and desire. VIYA is a catalyst for change, disrupting social business offerings, allowing us to influence women’s health offerings in traditionally under-invested markets, and disrupting the male-dominated, input-driven, and top-down development business model that is currently the status quo.
From periods to pleasure and beyond, VIYA is our consumer’s go-to brand for reliable information, decision-making support, and access to a range of quality products and services, all available in the palm of their hand.
And we are seeing early success! After launching the VIYA brand in South Africa in December 2021, we are now in six markets, have reached 18M users in 2023 on digital channels, and have provided more than 150M health products and services across the continuum from periods to pleasure, from menstruation to menopause. From recent consumer insights collected in South Africa, 77% of our consumers feel more confident in the uptake of products or services that they want.
Our “unusual” social business journey, from Shaline’s support through her expertise and her Maverick investment to develop our social marketing into a social business unit at PSI, to its evolution and conceptualization into Viya Health today, stands as a beacon of progress. With its relentless dedication to breaking taboos, dispelling misinformation, and enhancing the quality of women’s health delivery, Viya Health is an example of how social business not only creates ripples of change but also illuminates a transformative path forward.
I cannot wait to continue sharing this journey with you!
EPISODE 7 | Business Unusual
Tune in to Episode 7 of Maverick Beat to go behind the scenes with Maverick Member Shaline Gnanalingam and the VIYA team to see how PSI's social business approach is evolving – its challenges, opportunities, and future. Explore the impact VIYA has had on our consumers, the team, PSI, and Maverick Collective Members.
Toggle between the project tabs below to watch the full-length episodes and explore the project pages including our member “journal”, stories from our consumers, photos, and more!
Building the Capacity of the Social Enterprise Unit at PSI (now Viya Health)
Maverick Beat | Ep. 7: Business Unusual, Part 1 10 mins
It feels really good to be a part of the movement, it’s definitely something that I believe in.
Viya has created a platform that makes women feel safe to share and gain access to the correct information around sexual and reproductive health, or any other form of reproductive health, not only sexual health.
It feels really good to be a part of the movement, it’s definitely something that I believe in.
I think it’s important that more platforms and spaces are creative like this, especially for young girls in South Africa because anything to do with reproductive health is still considered as quite taboo.
The fact that VIYA health is pushing the boundaries and have made me a part of it, makes me feel like we’re onto something, and we can change the world. It’s great to be a part of it.
Intimacy and sexual wellness coach/sex educator/content creator
Balfour Park, Johannesburg
- ~40M people reached globally with information supporting access to sexual and reproductive health products and services during COVID-19
- $1.5M additional funding leveraged for the expansion of PSI's Social Business Unit
When I set out to join Maverick, I wanted to become a better advocate and be more outspoken. The work that I've done, the people that I've met, and the stories that I've learned have definitely helped me do exactly that.Shaline Gnanalingam
REIMAGINING HEALTHCARE FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS
This project supported the Social Business Unit (SBU) at PSI to reimagine healthcare for women and girls worldwide. The project used a a consumer-powered approach that puts care in their hands and delights them with new products and services.
Now consolidated under Viya Health, our diverse global enterprise portfolio has expanded across 26 countries.
It paved the way for the Building New Business Models to Improve Healthcare in East Africa project, supported by Maverick member Hilary Hamm. Both Maverick investments played a crucial role in expanding PSI’s social business portfolio across several regions.
Building on the success of both projects, PSI launched a new social business in Kenya, made progress on a Southeast Asia regional enterprise plan, and supported the design and launch of VIYA — PSI’s first sexual health and wellness brand — all while capturing learnings and prioritizing process improvement for future initiatives to ensure sustainability and scalability.
This project supported the creation of the Digital Acceleration Strategy, an agile response to COVID-19. Originally built on PSI’s Latin America digital business model for challenges in markets, we implemented a global solution across ten markets in South Asia, East Africa, and Latin America, harmonizing existing technology to support women’s and girls’ access to sexual and reproductive healthcare during the pandemic.
A Chatbot to Change Your Life
Building on previous design sprints and formative work among young Kenyan adults, NENA was designed to deliver novel sex-positive content related to genital health, health communication with sexual partners, sexual pleasure, and pleasure-focused practices such as orgasms and masturbation. This content was added to a menu of more traditional SRH content deployed by PSI, which includes an algorithm designed to provide information around STIs as well as contraceptive counseling and method information.
VIYA: A Bold New You
Through design and prototyping work done with consumers in East Africa, the concept of a wellness lifestyle brand was born. The concept was tested in additional markets and after being proven to resonate with consumers in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and South Africa, the SBU decided to design Viya for scale and approach the strategy from a global lens.
The Consumer as CEO
Maverick Beat | Ep. 7: Business Unusual, Part 2 10 mins
For me, VIYA has represented more than just a space for women... it has become a community. A community of resilient, strong women eager to heal and reconnect with themselves and the world.
And I think that’s what stands out the most about this platform because there’s a lot of rivalry out there in the world, so finding these spaces gives hope to be able to build a new reality where sisterhood, listening, sharing, laughter, and accompaniment are the pillars for a better life.
- 18 Million users equipped with essential healthcare information at their fingertips in 2023
- 77% of our consumers feel more confident in the uptake of products or services that they want
With its resolute dedication to breaking taboos, dispelling misinformation, and enhancing couples' agency in family planning decisions VIYA is an example of how social business not only creates ripples of change but also illuminates a transformative path forward.Ayesha Leghari
Country Director, PSI Pakistan
Marrying digital privacy with relatable, sex-positive educational content, VIYA equips women with the tools to choose and own their health journeys. The platform spans women’s lifecycles, going beyond standard siloed approaches that focus on one health area at one point in women’s lives.
VIYA creates opportunities for women and men to get informed, take control, and advocate for themselves.
From periods to menopause and beyond, our sexual health and wellness brand VIYA* is designed to be the go-to for reliable information, decision-making support, and access to a range of quality products and services, all housed on consumers’ phones. Marrying digital privacy with relatable, sex-positive educational content, VIYA fosters a supportive community where users can share experiences and receive guidance from counselors.
First launched in 2021 in South Africa, the VIYA brand is already operating with promising results in four additional markets – Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya, Pakistan, and Uganda.
Consumer insights drive Viya Health from start to finish. Their voices, from product exploration to design, launch, and sales, ensure that products not only meet consumers’ needs but exceed their expectations. The consumer is our CEO.
*VIYA is a brand of Viya Health, PSI’s diverse portfolio of locally led, globally connected social businesses operating across 26 markets. It aims to find the balance between social impact and commercial viability, using innovation to expand access to essential health products and services
Pakistan: Freedom to be Curious
“It is not like a health care where you can be discriminated against or something. It is user-friendly, you can just get any information that you want. You can text any time you want and you get a response.” (Man*, 18-24)
*Names are anonymized
Guatemala: Healthcare & Privacy
VIYA is now integrating telehealth into its offering starting in Guatemala. The entry into Guatemala marks VIYA’s first venture into Latin America.
South Africa: Health Besties
In South Africa, VIYA is generating excitement and leveraging connections to help women rediscover their bodies and health in community through the VIYA Health Besties.
Master Class: Business Unusual
Health systems change cannot happen if we continue to operate in traditional silos. Social business allows healthcare providers and consumers to find cross-cutting solutions without jumping through hoops and hurdles. So, why are they still so hard to finance and scale?
In this Master Class, we learned from social business practitioners and industry partners about the challenges and opportunities of operating in today’s fragmented and challenging markets and the key role of private philanthropy and investment in accelerating progress toward healthcare for all.
DIG DEEP AND LEARN MORE -- IN YOUR OWN TIME AND AT YOUR OWN PACE.