Our partner Kiva pays us a friendly visit!
Sanergy’s partnership with Kiva gives entrepreneurs in the informal settlements of Nairobi the chance to own their own Fresh Life businesses, earn their own income, stimulate their local economy, and become respected members of their communities. On average, over 150 Kiva-funded Fresh Life Toilets are dispersed to the community on a yearly basis. Due to the remarkable success of this program, Kiva has expanded Sanergy’s credit limit by 150%. As a result of the expanding Fresh Life network, thousands of community members are served with clean, safe, and hygienic toilets every day.
Last month, we were excited to welcome Jacob Schultz, Kiva’s Vice President of People, to Sanergy’s Mukuru office. He had the opportunity to meet our Fresh Life Operators who are Kiva beneficiaries and learn about our work at Sanergy. We took a moment to ask him about Kiva’s three-year partnership with Sanergy.
What inspired your visit to Sanergy?
I am Kiva’s VP of People based in San Francisco. After a lot of time behind my desk I relish the opportunity to travel and see the impact of our work and of our partners. I have heard such great things I have always looked forward to visiting Sanergy. I was curious about your model and am glad to have finally seen it!
What do you often look out for during your visits to Kiva partners?
My visits are more of a special treat rather than routine. When in the field, my visits are interactive sessions aimed at understanding how our partners are doing. I use this opportunity to clarify and answer any questions from our partners, as well as take in feedback from them. Other than that, I am interested in gauging the popularity of the Kiva micro-lending platform among our clients as well as the impact it has had on them and their community.
Having done various site visits, what do you think about Sanergy’s model?
It is very impressive! I like the fact that communities themselves are involved in solving the sanitation problem in their areas through Sanergy’s business model. And the impact I witnessed is evident.
Tell us a bit about your field experience in Mukuru with our Fresh Life Operators.
I visited Leah, who runs two Fresh Life Toilets, and I learned quite a lot. Her enthusiasm for the business was vivid and impressive; one could tell her business was doing well from the influx of customers throughout our chat. Having lived in Mukuru for a long time, Leah took me through life before Fresh Life Toilets and the community’s appreciation for the facilities. She is familiar with Kiva and is actually in the process of installing her third toilet through Kiva’s financial assistance program.
You witnessed the beginning of Kiva’s partnership with Sanergy. What, in your opinion, has been the highlight of our partnership?
I have worked at Kiva for four years now and still remember when we first began partnering with Sanergy. A lot has changed since then! I enjoyed meeting Patrick Lang’at [Manager of Sanergy’s Credit team], and the investment in credit is a good sign that the Fresh Life Operators have the information and support they need to access critical financial services from Kiva.
Where do you see our partnership in the near future?
I see a lot of room for growth; our hope is that our collaboration with Sanergy will continue to help create more economic opportunities and better public health outcomes in underserved communities.