“My Passion is Sales” – A Chat with Teammate Allan Ong’ang’a
While growing up, Allan Ong’ang’a attended Ngei Primary school in Kibera informal settlement in Nairobi. It is here that he found a best friend, Liban.
Liban had grown up in refugee camps, and his accounts gave Allan his first real impressions of what lack of access to proper sanitation could do to basic human decency. Liban’s words also applied to more than just refugee camps – it was the same where Allan lived in Kibera.
Those experiences planted in Allan the desire to do something to better the difficult situations in informal settlements.
Allan Onga’ng’a is now Sanergy’s Area Manager for Sales and Operations and has just recently returned from the 2014 BoP (Base of the Pyramid) convention in Singapore. The convention was convened by Sanergy’s advisor Jack Sim – ‘Mr Toilet’. We had a chat with Allan about his experiences during the convention.
What was the BoP convention in Singapore about?
The convention brought together stakeholders with interests in serving markets at the base of the pyramid – the world’s lowest socio-economic levels. These are people who live on less than US$2.50 per day and it’s about 3 billion people. Of course, this is exactly the target population that Sanergy serves in Nairobi. It was a unique gathering to share knowledge, engage with issues and explore partnerships to bring sustainable and affordable solutions that could impact millions of lives in the developing world.
2) Why was it important for Sanergy to be part of this convention?
Sanergy is one of the key players in the sanitation services sector with specific focus on the BoP markets. In this regard, it was very important for Sanergy to attend and learn what other stakeholders in the sector are doing. It also provided a platform to network, share and talk about our model and to explore avenues and opportunities for creating partnerships of mutual interest.
3. What key lessons or insights did you learn from the convention that will assist in the context of your work at Sanergy?
There were a few insights that really stuck with me:
- Serving the BoP markets requires patience and a well thought out strategy. This is because financial institutions tend to shy off from financing sanitation related ventures due to the high risks involved. My passion is sales and I like to do so quickly – sell Fresh Life Toilets. Taking time to assess and strategize was a helpful reminder.
- BoP clients have an aspiration to achieve middle class status and better their lives. Therefore our service and product – Fresh Life – needs to capture that aspiration.
- We need to see the BoP markets not as the base of the pyramid, but the best of the pyramid and seize the opportunity to constantly engage them as customers, distributors, partners and in our case, franchisees.
4. Overall what was your experience during the convention?
The event was remarkable! It gave me a splendid opportunity to network, learn and share Sanergy’s work with the rest of the world.
Allan Ong’anga is in Sanergy’s Sales and Operations team that oversees the expansion of our franchise network.