Charles Waiswa - “The Professor” – taking services to higher heights
The person who has contributed more than anyone else to making
SOS a success on the ground in Uganda is Charles Waiswa, a
Professor turned Social Entrepreneur.
When the SOS initiative began in 2006, Charles was the Assistant
Professor at Makerere University, where he shared the same vision
as the Dean of the Veterinary Faculty, John-David Kabasa, to take
veterinary medicines and skills back into the community - to
create, in their own words, "healthier and wealthier
Phase 1 of SOS was a scientific success, preventing the
convergence of the two sleeping sickness belts, but there were
still many problems to overcome in order to reach a level of
sustainability. A major obstacle was ensuring a plentiful
supply of drugs essential for both spraying animals on a monthly
basis as well as treating them if they fell sick.
None of the major veterinary distributors in Uganda felt there
was enough money in these communities to justify their time and
effort. Charles, therefore, decided to step in himself and,
using the family business - High Heights - the hotel named to
reflect its position, began to supply the young 3V veterinarians
with the products they needed.
The system has now evolved to the point where Charles, supported
by IKARE and Ceva, acts as mentor and provider to all new 3V vets
until they reach a point where "they are ready to fly" on their
own. This role, somewhere between public and private good and
often referred to as "social entrepreneurialism", has also thrust
Charles into a broader international network, addressing audiences
both at Europe's leading business school, INSEAD, located outside
Paris, as well as at the World Health Organisation ("WHO") in
Like many other social entrepreneurs who have contributed to the
SOS initiative, Charles' own career has also benefited - he was
promoted to Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the Makerere
University in June 2011.