Piloting the ‘Fresh Fit’ – Wali Mwalugongo
The Fresh Fit is an in-home toilet designed for households that face a variety of challenges while trying to access a toilet. Some of these challenges include having to venture out at night, and the risk of attack – women and girls are particularly vulnerable. The Fresh Fit is convenient, safe, and offers them the privacy they need. Currently, Sanergy’s Future Initiatives team has delivered over 70 Fresh Fit units to families in Mukuru Kwa Ruben and Kayaba. Wali Mwalungongo, who joined our team in 2016 has been spearheading this project and shares why she is passionate about the Fresh Fit.
What’s your background?
I have an Msc. degree in International Health, I have also implemented various technology and health financing projects across Kenya. During this time, I got to work with communities in urban informal settlements and this got me interested in working with them. They are vibrant, resilient, and often determined to solve their own challenges.
Why do households love Fresh Fit?
Our customers love that it offers privacy, and that it’s compact in size – designed to fit the most constrained spaces. Just like the Fresh Life Toilet, it is a dry toilet that does not require water to maintain, and doesn’t smell at all. We however make sure that our customers understand the importance of handwashing after every use.
What does a typical day entail for you?
To create awareness about Fresh Fit, I conduct regular visits in the community. I also talk to our customers and address any concerns that they might have. The other half of my time is spent in the office writing reports about the pilot’s progress, and participating in strategy meetings with my teammates. As a team, we want to give our customers the very best of customer service.
What keeps you going?
Our very first Fresh Fit customer was Alice Wanini, we knew that once our first customer was invested, other community members would invest in one too. Our current customers are the biggest ambassadors of Fresh Fit. To date, we have sold over 70 Fresh Fits in the communities we serve. Whenever a Fresh Fit customer calls us, just to appreciate our services, we are motivated to keep doing what we do.
Any valuable lessons you have learnt along the way?
The customer is king and listening to their feedback is very important. We love that we have very discerning customers who know what they want from their sanitation experience. Over the last two years, our team has made improvements on our beta versions thanks to customer feedback. They value affordability and personalized service delivery. To this end, our team subsidized the cost of purchasing a Fresh Fit and then deployed specific logistics personnel for the Fresh Fit customers. This has increased the uptake of Fresh Fit by households in our pilot areas.
Team collaboration is critical – I work closely with my teammate Valbet Adera who also ensures that all our customers are satisfied with the level of service we give them. Our professional waste collection team also ensures that every household has a clean Fresh Fit for use.
We hope that by the end of this pilot, we will have gained a good understanding of the sanitary needs of urban households. This way, we can serve thousands more with the Fresh Fit.