Serving everyone, everywhere: A spotlight on the Fabrication and Installation team
In May 2017, we launched a record 65 Fresh Life Toilets! What does it take to ensure the construction happens? Enter Sanergy’s Fabrication and Installation team. The team is charged with the manufacture, installation, and maintenance of all the Fresh Life Toilets in our network. On any given day, this team has to juggle between pounding internal deadlines, eager operators wanting their toilets to open, and navigating the difficult physical conditions of informal settlements.
“Every week, we install between eight and fifteen Fresh Life Toilets in the community; sometimes all located in different areas.” These are the words of Sebastian Ochieng, commonly known as ‘Seba’. He is one of our longest serving teammates with over 5 years of service under his belt. Sebastian’s work starts as soon as we break ground to put up a Fresh Life Toilet. He coordinates the transportation of all the materials to the site and assigns construction work to his team.
On the Installation team’s line of work, there are a lot of variables that make it even tougher than what it seems. The weather is one of them. When it rains, their whole schedule is thrown off. This is because informal settlements are unpaved and the rains render roads impassable. It takes a committed, disciplined team with strong-willed individuals to get the materials on site and to undertake the construction. Even after the rains subside, it might take them another day or two just to get the ground right. It’s rough, but it’s rewarding work at the same time. Seba affirms this, “we have very tough days when installing a toilet takes much longer than it is supposed to, but we make sure the work is eventually done.”
Daniel Musa is also part of this team. Daniel carries out regular maintenance work to ensure that all Fresh Life Toilets are in tiptop working condition. He acts as the liaison between the Fresh Life Operators and the engineers on the team. “Being able to anticipate the needs of the Fresh Life Operator and articulate that to the team has helped ensure efficiency in my work,” he says.
Joab Omondi, an electrical and mechanical engineer has been at Sanergy for two years and leads the entire 26-person team. As a leader, he coordinates and tracks each of the construction projects that they are tasked with. The team strives to give the very best of customer service to Fresh Life Operators by being friendly, helpful and maintaining professionalism at all times. “We have a very open communication system which allows us to share and find solutions to our day to day challenges. It helps to foster learning and collaboration within the team.”
In an area that has over 60% unemployment, Joab is content in the knowledge that his team members earn a good income and are able to provide for their families. The team is comprised of workmen who have lived in the larger Mukuru informal settlement and have experienced firsthand the effects of unsafe sanitation. Having the opportunity to provide the quality Fresh Life service for their families and neighbors while earning an income is what keeps them motivated.
Seba helped put up the first Fresh Life Toilet, he remembers the feeling of accomplishment when the structure stood proud and tall in the community, it is moments like this that make his job worthwhile. “I will never forget that day,” Seba says, “we knew we had begun to change the face of sanitation in Mukuru.” He knows he is making an impact– and that kind of impact lasts a lifetime.