“I am proud to promote good hygiene practices in my community!” – Samuel Kiio’s story
Fresh Life Operators and customers understand the impact a toilet can have on a community. Access to a toilet, coupled with the simple practice of handwashing, leads to a reduction in water-borne diseases such as diarrhea.
FLO Samuel Kiio has become a champion for good sanitation; he joined our network in April this year and owns one Fresh Life Toilet located at the heart of Sinai village in Viwandani area. Samuel was raised in Sinai informal settlement and knows too well the challenges that were prevalent in his community before the proliferation of Fresh Life Toilets. He shares why a Fresh Life Toilet is making a difference in his neigbourhood.
Why did you choose to invest in sanitation?
Growing up, there was not a single toilet in this area. This particular spot where I have installed my Fresh Life Toilet was famous for open defecation. Initially it was covered in bush, providing people with a little privacy. However, as more people came to Viwandani, the bush was cleared and replaced with small businesses. We had only one public toilet, which the community used.
What challenges did the community face during this time?
Our biggest challenge was accessing the only available toilet — especially at night — as it was located quite far from where we live. The majority of us resorted to using flying toilets. Another challenge was the frequent malfunctioning of the sewer line connected to the toilet. The pipes would burst, letting out untreated wastewater into the community. This waste — along with the numerous flying toilets — resulted in a constant bad odor in this area.
Tell us about your transition to Fresh Life Toilets.
When Fresh Life Toilets first came to Viwandani, I used one of them, and I loved the experience; the toilets were very attractive, clean, and operational throughout the dry and even during the rainy season. They were also located near our homes. I wanted to join the movement, but I did not have sufficient funds to purchase a toilet. My mother and I learned about Sanergy’s partnership with Kiva, through which we could access interest-free capital. We now own a Fresh Life Toilet that serves my neighbors between 6am and 9pm every day.
How do you attract and retain your Fresh Life Toilet customers?
On a good day, I serve up to 150 customers. I attract and retain customers by providing excellent customer service. In my training sessions with the Fresh Life team, I have learnt how to keep a clean toilet and to serve my customers promptly and politely, which keep my customers coming back and even prompts them to refer my services to their friends.
What achievements are you proud of since joining the Fresh Life network?
Providing access to a toilet and educating my customers about the importance of proper hygiene practices, including handwashing, are my biggest achievements. Whenever customers — especially children — visit my FLT, I encourage them to wash their hands and even take them through the steps of proper handwashing I learnt from Fresh Life to ensure that they learn and internalize this important practice. This helps to prevent hygiene-related illnesses, such as diarrhea and cholera, keeping people healthy and saving them money that might otherwise go toward medical care.
What are your plans as an entrepreneur in the near future?
Investing in more Fresh Life Toilets! I have identified a few strategic spots to put up additional toilets, and the Fresh Life team is currently assessing them.
Global Handwashing Day is celebrated every October 15. It is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.