Princeton in Mukuru: Marielle Schweickart
This week, Sanergy bid farewell to one of our fellows – Marielle Schweickart, a Princeton in Africa Fellow who has been working with Sanergy for the last two years. In the course of her fieldwork, Marielle could be spotted in a raincoat, gumboots, and Fresh Life shirt making her way through Mukuru to meet up with Fresh Life Operators in the community to get their feedback on her latest project. This is testament to her passion in tackling issues such as sanitation that are faced by the developing world.
Marielle was part of the Insights and Innovations team, an internal consulting division that works to ensure Sanergy operates both more efficiently and effectively. “Working at Insights and Innovations has been an invaluable experience because I have learned to back my recommendations with data.”
Marielle has worked on several projects at Sanergy including a product sales pilot which aimed at increasing revenue for Fresh Life Operators by selling other goods and the Kiva project – an online micro-lending platform that offers interest-free loans to Fresh Life Operators. Working with Kiva, Marielle has been inspired by the positive transformation she has witnessed in the lives of Fresh Life Operators.
“Living in Nairobi has made me appreciate the great development projects taking place here. Furthermore, my co-workers at Sanergy have motivated me because of their commitment and relentless pursuit to solving sanitation problems.”
Marielle, who hails from Seattle Washington, comes from a family of four siblings. She majored in History at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Her minor was in Development Studies and she has always been interested in Public Health. It was through her application to Princeton in Africa Fellowship that led her to Sanergy.
Marielle loves the great outdoors and during her free time, she engages in various activities. She has participated in three local half marathons and one full marathon, explored national parks including the Maasai Mara, hiked Mt. Kenya and visited the Kenyan Coast with her friends.
As she leaves Nairobi, Marielle says she is going to miss eating chapati (a type of flat bread that is shallow-fried on a pan). Any peculiarities she has seen? The loud blaring of music by the traders as they sell their wares in the vibrant streets of Mukuru, and the pathways that are sometimes mud-stricken even when it hasn’t rained!
Going forward, Marielle plans to work in the US, but with Kenya close to her heart, she hopes that she will find her way back again. You can read more on Marielle’s experiences in Kenya on her personal blog.