Introducing Ruth Kimama and our Fresh Life Operator Community
This week we interview Ruth Kimama, an Area Manager at Sanergy to learn more about our FLO Community, about how Sanergy engages its Fresh Life Operators to become smart and effective business leaders.
What is your role at Sanergy?
I run sales and operations in Kwa Rueben and Viwandani, two of the neighborhoods we work with in Mukuru. I coach Sanergy’s sales associates, and ensure FLO’s are meeting our expectations by managing Sanergy’s field officers.
I spent most of my life in the slums, growing up in Lunga Lunga, a community in Mukuru. I was fortunate to attend Kagwe Girls Secondary boarding school in central Kenya, and then the University of Nairobi where I studied commerce. I believe in Sanergy’s mission. For me it is important to see the impact. I have a job that meets my needs and helps the community that helped me grow up and become a responsible person. Today I live in Kingston, a sub area of Viwandani.
What do you like best about your job?
I get to know community leaders, and coach people so they can grow out of their teen years into something else. I like going into the field, talking with Sanergy’s FLO’s, and hearing how they are doing. I love everybody at Sanergy. Because the company is young we have the freedom to experiment. I enjoy getting things done, and creating processes and systems. It teaches me so much in light of what I want to do in the long run. I want to set up my own businesses, get them to run, and then move onto the next one.
How does Sanergy empower FLO’s to be leaders?
Sanergy established an Advisory Council and monthly Advisory Council meetings last quarter to empower FLO’s to resolve issues that affect the entire FLO network. The 6 elected FLO’s serve as the voice of FLO’s to Sanergy, explaining what would work for FLO’s and what would not. This opportunity to collect feedback improves the entire system. We also host quarterly networking forums.
How has the Advisory Council had a positive impact on Sanergy?
I can give you two great examples. The Advisory Council improved the Fresh Life hand washing stations by recommending we attach a soap dish to the basin. If a new FLO has never bought sawdust before and does not know where to find the required item, then the FLO can look at a list of sawdust sellers created by the Advisory Council.
How has Sanergy created this community of FLO’s?
Sanergy holds a daylong FLO Forum once every three months. All FLO’s are encouraged to attend. 46 FLO’s attend our last FLO Forum on April 5. It was a very busy and fun six hours. We sometimes invite potential FLO’s to attend FLO Forums, too so they can learn more about Sanergy. Sanergy team members who work with FLO’s directly or indirectly attend each FLO Forum.
FLO’s enjoy attending the FLO Forums because they are opportunities for FLO’s to exchange ideas with each other, and give Sanergy their feedback on our services. The forums also help the FLO’s strengthen their network of like-minded community leaders. Sometimes when you are alone you can think this work is too much. But when they all get together they see that they are all together. I think this benefits Sanergy if you have a feeling of togetherness and belonging.
What happens at an FLO Forum?
We have feedback sessions. Sanergy team members present and FLO’s get to ask questions. We use the forums as an opportunity to train FLO’s on developments and new things and collect suggestions from our FLO’s. FLO’s bond by doing group activities that require teamwork.
We celebrate outstanding FLO’s at each FLO Forum in a ceremony that includes certificates and gifts. Recognizing FLO’s for “Cleanest Fresh Life Toilet”, “Highest Number of Child Users” and “Best Record Keeping” acknowledges, encourages, and rewards excellence.
Thanks again to Ruth for her commitment to Sanergy and our FLO community.