From the field: Ruth Kimama – Coach, Policewoman and Chief Listener

Ruth Kimama, a graduate of the Universty of Nairobi with a degree in Commerce, is a Field Manager at Sanergy. She works with our Fresh Life Operators every day to ensure that they succeed. In today’s blog post, she writes about what her job entails:

At Sanergy, we promise to provide fresh and clean sanitation in a sustainable manner in Nairobi’s slums. I focus on making sure Sanergy’s Fresh Life toilets are sustainable. That is to say, I help Sanergy’s Fresh Life Operators become profitable.

My job is really three roles: coach, policewoman, and chief listener.


As a coach, I teach business skills and track the performances of each Fresh Life Operator. Last month, one of our FLOs, Caroline, needed to increase the number of people using her toilet. To achieve this, I brainstormed with the marketing team and Caroline to come up with ideas on what could be done. We decided that the simple step of adding a signpost would attract more attention. Indeed, it increased usage by more than 20%.

As a policewoman, I ensure that Sanergy’s Fresh Life standards are maintained by Fresh Life Operators. This includes everything from spot-checking that toilets are kept clean to ensuring that supplies of soap, water, and toilet paper are maintained. I have to be tough on each operator because we want a strong, consistent brand throughout Nairobi.

As a listener, I hear the concerns of each Fresh Life Operator. Every week, I sit down with each of our FLOs and listen attentively to what they say, as well as what they do not say. This helps the whole Sanergy team get continuous feedback so that we can improve on all fronts as well as understand what we are doing right.

Working with the FLOs has been like raising a child: an exciting journey with lots of new challenges where I learn so much at the same time. At the end of day though, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing the FLOs take on the challenge of running a new business and turning it into a success. That’s when I know I’ve done my job well.


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