Cleaning up communities by inspiring behavior change – A Chat with Marketing Officer Nicholas Kogo
Diligence, persistence, and teamwork are all personal values that teammate Nicholas Kogo holds very dear. They guide and motivate him in his life. His peers describe him as a sociable, respectful, flexible, and humble teammate, which makes it easy for them to work with him.
From a very young age, Nicholas always admired journalists and wanted to be one. However, upon his graduation from high school, other opportunities presented themselves. He received a scholarship to study Certified Public Accounts, and even though he accepted the accounting scholarship, it was not his passion. After a year, Nicholas approached his academic advisor for help in switching courses. His request was accepted, and he was admitted to pursue a course in marketing.
“Marketing and communications are my passions. I feel fulfilled every day by my work as a Marketing Officer. I’m glad I made the switch,” Nicholas reflects.
For the five years that Nicholas has been working in marketing, he has aimed to improve the lives of community members by changing perceptions and influencing behavior change. Of particular interest to him has been health and sanitation in the informal settlements, which led him to joining Sanergy.
“I was born and partially raised in Nairobi’s Majengo area; I have experienced poor sanitation and poor health practices, most of which are due to uninformed decision-making,” Nicholas believes.
During his time as a Marketing Officer at Sanergy, one of the projects of which he is most proud has been overseeing the marketing of Fresh Life Toilets in new areas such as Mathare, Tassia, and Kiambiu. Mobilizing community members, youth leaders, and landlords to attend the first Fresh Life information forum in Mathare was his most challenging yet fulfilling experience.
“The 115 forum participants have become our best ambassadors. It was hard work to get buy-in for the Fresh Life Toilet among Mathare residents,” recalls Nicholas. However, the need to end open defecation motivated him to be persistent. “I coordinated Sanergy and Fresh Life teams such as Government Relations and Sales and Operations to make our entry into new areas as smooth as possible,” he beams.
Currently, Fresh Life Toilets installation rates in these areas are very high; Kiambiu, for instance, installs at least three Fresh Life Toilets per week.
In helping Fresh Life enter these new areas, Nicholas learned that it takes a cohesive and committed team to achieve results. In addition, Nicholas says that as a marketing expert, one has to be up to date with market trends and important technology that will aid in wide outreach, building networks, and tracking feedback. He is currently working with the Sanergy IT team to develop an effective system that will help in tracking the success of his referrals program aimed at increasing Fresh Life Toilets sales.
Nicholas has big dreams for himself and his community. He runs a personal initiative called ‘Rescue a Child’ in his home area Majengo as well as Kayaba. This initiative is aimed at identifying and helping vulnerable and orphaned children access education, which he believes is a path to a brighter future.
He is also undertaking his Master of Science in Marketing and Communication at University of Nairobi to hone his skills and better serve his community. We wish him the very best!