Innovative strategy designed to scale Sanergy’s sanitation delivery in Mathare slums

There are lots of obstacles to ensuring that a growing slum population has sustainable access to safe sanitation. These include challenges such as inadequate sanitation infrastructure and systems, as well as insufficient investment by either government or community members; however, our systems-based approach to sanitation has offered tailor-made solutions to these problems. By building and installing compact Fresh Life Toilets at least 100 meters apart in the densely populated slums, we provide residents with safe 24-hour access to sanitation while also ensuring safe waste containment and removal from the community.

This approach has worked well so far in our original service areas in Mukuru slum; we have cleaned up our communities through sanitation entrepreneurs, who have also contributed to happier and healthier school pupils, and tenants. Now, we are implementing strategies that allow us to reach many more slum residents with hygienic sanitation! One of them is offering other customized sanitation solutions where Fresh Life Toilets would not be the ideal solution.

The other is expanding our sanitation offering to new areas such as Mathare, one of the oldest slums in Nairobi with a population of approximately 180,000 residents.

Assistant Government Relations Officer Rose Kavuli with Mabatini Ward Administer Chapia Chapia Bukachi

So far, we have launched over 20 Fresh Life Toilets in the commercial and schools franchise types in Mathare, but throughout 2015 and early 2016, we were having trouble entering Mathare’s residential market. Our goal is to reach as many residents with our sanitation solution as possible; to this end, we have been exploring innovative strategies that are attractive to entrepreneurs and offer a safe sanitation experience to Mathare residents.

One of our pilot strategies is the ‘fee-for-service’ strategy, customized to attract potential entrepreneurs in the residential franchise model where landlords commit to a standard fee for Fresh Life services such as waste management, after they receive a Fresh Life Toilet structure at no cost.

This strategy was the result of a survey conducted last year by our team in collaboration with Whitten & Roy Partnership to help our team better understand the value proposition of Fresh Life Toilets in Mathare.

In the survey, we discovered that while the majority of plots in the area did not have a toilet within the compound, property co-ownership and absentee landlords made the decision to purchase and install a Fresh Life Toilet difficult.

By making our Fresh Life Toilets’ services as affordable and manageable as possible, we make the decision to join the movement an easier one for any of the plot owners on behalf of their co-ownership partners.

In addition, involving plot residents in the Fresh Life Toilets’ operations ensures access to services even when their landlords are not present.

New Communities teammate Evans Oyugi explains the benefits of a Fresh Life Toilet to residents in Mabatini.

We have been selling fee-for-service Fresh Life Toilets in Mathare’s Mabatini ward for six months, and we have seen positive results for our team and Mathare residents. So far, over 20 plots have installed Fresh Life Toilets within their compound, all managed by plot residents.

We have also built strong relationships with the area’s administrative leaders and residents to further improve sanitation in the area.

Mabatini Assistant Chief Bernard Kanzika and Ward Administrator Gabriel Bukachi Chapia have been instrumental in helping implement this strategy. They have been at the forefront of participating in community awareness campaigns we have held in the area and assisting plot owners with land approvals for setting up their Fresh Life Toilets.

“Fresh Life Toilets are a good solution for improving sanitation in this area. They do not require sewer line connection and occupy a relatively small space,” says Kanzika.

Having launched 43 Fresh Life Toilets in 2016 using this strategy, our team aims to install 150 additional Fresh Life Toilets by the end of this year!

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