Using data to improve and scale our sanitation delivery

Here at Sanergy, we’re striving to build a model for urban sanitation delivery that is scalable and replicable. In order to do this, we work to make sure that we are maximizing the efficiency and efficacy of every part of our operations. Our Information Technology team is responsible for working with teams across the organization to collect, organize, and analyse all of the information about how they’re doing their jobs – and how it can be improved.

Sanergy teammate Rosemary Kariuki
Sanergy teammate Rosemary Kariuki

Rosemary Kariuki, the operations data analyst on our IT team, joined Sanergy last year. “I spent my first three months at Sanergy in the Fellows program,” says Rosemary, “which offered me a great opportunity to learn about data analytics and how to build and use the tools we need.”

Rosemary is responsible for aggregating and analysing data from different sources in the field. She has also supported the development of our international operational review platform and trained teammates on how to enter and reference data on the platform.

Recently, Rosemary has been working on a few big projects. “Last year, I was tasked with revamping our Mystery Loo User (MLU) program, used to determine our franchisees’ standards compliance across the network. One of the main problems with the old program was that the MLU scores and feedback were difficult to interpret and share with our Fresh Life Operators,” said Rosemary.

To improve the MLU process, Rosemary looked at the data being collected and how it was presented and analysed. She proposed consolidating the categories for review and revamping the way the scores were presented.

“To solve this problem and others, we overhauled the MLU and replaced it with the Quality Assurance Check (QuAC). Enumerators now visit each toilet monthly, and the data is presented in an easy-to-read document that can be shared directly with Fresh Life Operators. To make it even easier for FLOs to understand their scores, Field Officers now visit each FLO to discuss their scores and the rationale behind them,” says Rosemary.

The QuAC was introduced in April, and we’ve already seen increased compliance across the network! Rosemary is excited that this better enables us to track the efficacy of our routine visits to FLOs. “About half the Fresh Life Toilets in our network now meet or exceed Fresh Life’s quality and cleanliness standards, and the FLOs have more clarity on what they need to do to improve.”

Rosemary has also been developing a data-tracking system for all Sanergy teams to conduct efficient operational reviews, inputting and analysing their own data to identify ways to optimize their performance.

Rosemary Kariuki and Brian Onyando discussing data
Rosemary Kariuki and Brian Onyando discussing data

“We also work to empower teammates by training them on how to use data as a tool for facilitating their work,” says Rosemary. “For example, we recently trained the marketing team on tracking and analysing data to better understand how their marketing interventions drive usage at Fresh Life Toilets. Since the training, usage at FLTs has risen, showing that proper data collection and analysis can have real-world implications in a short amount of time.”

When asked about the lessons she has learned, she points to the difficulties in transitioning data from an old system to a new one. She says, “It was a challenge to integrate data from the MLU to the current QuAC tracker. Each survey was in its own format, and we had to come up with a method for addressing the gaps between the old and new information. While we succeeded in finding a solution, the experience provided valuable lessons about building platforms to allow for flexibility in data collection, entry, and analysis.”

The data tracking and analysis systems that Rosemary and her team have put in place help us determine how to optimize our existing processes, to ensure maximum efficiency and efficacy. And Rosemary’s passion for data is infectious – she’s taught many teammates just how cool data can be!

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