GES2015: Julie Hanna, Chair of Kiva, visits Sanergy
Julie Hanna, Executive Board Chair of Kiva, dropped by to visit the Sanergy offices while she was in town for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Along with Patrick Lang’at, manager of Sanergy’s credit team, Julie visited Esther Munyiva, a Kiva beneficiary, to discuss the role Fresh Life has played in improving their communities.
Since 2012, Fresh Life Operators have had access to interest-free loans from Kiva to help purchase their toilets. “Being able to pay for a Fresh Life Toilet is one of the most frequent concerns we hear from prospective operators. Since traditional banks are hesitant to lend to residents of informal settlements, and micro-finance institutions often have high interest rates on their loans, people considering buying a toilet frequently worry about how they’re going to finance it,” explains Patrick. “Through our partnership with Kiva, Fresh Life Operators can receive interest-free loans for the capital they need to start and grow their business.”
When discussing Fresh Life as a business, Esther told Julie, “I initially used to charge five shillings for toilet usage, but my business was not doing too well, and I was determined to help improve my community and end open defecation. I consulted with most of my neighbors, and we agreed on four shillings. It has helped in retaining customers and improving the conditions of my neighborhood.”
As we noted in our recent blog post about Jacob Schulz’s visit to Sanergy, our partnership with Kiva is a crucial element of our business and continues to grow. “The Fresh Life Toilet model is fascinating. I was particularly curious about adoption and behavior change within the communities that have access to Fresh Life Toilets,” Julie said. She was glad for the opportunity to see the effects of our partnership firsthand.
We’re thrilled to have such a supportive partner in Kiva and look forward to a fruitful future with them!