Social Franchising

PS/Kenya launched Tunza Family Health Network, a fractional social franchise in December 2008 with the purpose of engaging the private health providers and empowering low income Kenyan women to avoid unplanned pregnancies through access to high quality family planning services.


The concept of commercial franchising has been in existence since the mid 1800’s, however, health social franchising is relatively new with the first social franchise networks being set up in Nepal and Pakistan in the mid-90s. These networks were  founded by social marketing agencies that sought to expand their offerings beyond traditional family planning commodities (such as condoms and oral contraceptives) to include long-term methods that would require training (such as IUDs and Implants). 

The social franchising model has proven to be effective and has expanded rapidly over the years; there are currently 52 social franchise networks globally most of which are in Asia and Africa. Kenya (6) and India (4) have the most networks compared to the other countries. Social franchises in Kenya: Tunza Family Health Network by PS Kenya, Gold Star Network by Family Health International, Amua Family Planning Clinics run by Marie Stopes Kenya (MSK) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya, Huduma Poa Clinics run by Kisumu Medical & Education Trust (K-MET), Child and Family Wellness Clinics (CFW) by The HealthStore Foundation and Family Health Options Kenya (FHOK), a member association of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Franchises in Kenya are united by one body under the Association of Social Franchising for Health (ASFH).

Social Franchises activities are usually managed by NGOs (as the franchisor) with support from donor funding. The franchisor usually owns the brand name and logo under which the franchise is marketed as. In addition, the franchisor also comes up with minimum operating standards under which the franchisee is required to operate within. Majority of social franchises are fractional or partial franchises, which means that the franchisor only supports select services within a clinic.

Although a few networks own their franchises, 99% of social franchises comprise of privately owned and run clinics located in low-income communities and offering primary clinical services. The franchisor usually brands facilities that meet the set quality threshold and support the franchisee in the areas of training, regular updates and Continous Medical Education (CMEs) on franchised services, commodities security, advertising/demand creation and ongoing supportive supervision and OJT (on the job training). In return to the support, the franchisee is required to operate within the franchisor’s standards.


 The four primary goals of social franchises are;

  • Access: Increase the number of service delivery points and healthcare services offered.
  • Cost-effectiveness: ensure that services remain affordable to the poor who largely form the bulk of clients for franchised clinics.
  • Quality: Provide services that adhere to quality standards and improve the pre-existing level of quality.
  • Equity: Serve all population groups, emphasizing those most in need (bottom of the pyramid).


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