Digital mapping – our new way to reach everyone, everywhere with safe sanitation
One of the biggest impacts of rapid urbanization in cities today is the buildup of crowded slums. In Nairobi for example, out of 3.1 million dwellers, 2.5 million of them live in slums such as Mukuru, which covers 525 acres and has a population of more than 500,000 people.
In our quest to reach everyone with safe sanitation, we recently partnered with Spatial Collective, a Kenyan company that specializes in community mapping. We wanted to get an accurate representation of sanitation provision in Viwandani – a sub area of Mukuru. Specifically, we wanted to identify underserved areas, that is residential areas without toilets but with adequate space to put a Fresh Life toilet.
Since we ventured into Viwandani in 2012, we have launched 121 Fresh Life Toilets against neighboring Mukuru Kwa Ruben which has over 500 units and Mukuru Kwa Njenga with over 400 facilities.
Using aerial imagery, Spatial Collective digitized all the structures in Viwandani – providing us with a foot print of every building. This was then followed by a field survey aimed at identifying all the households as captured during the digitization process.
Within three months of the field survey, we had gathered the total number of plots within the area, the number of housing units within each plot, the total number of sanitation facilities in the area and the contact details of all the landlords in the area.
In order to achieve accurate information, the team carried out a verification exercise – ensuring that all structures captured using aerial imagery were all marked on ground and that missing structures or those that had changed over time were included. As a result, our team garnered important information about sanitation provision in the area as follows.
52% of plots in Viwandani do not have a toilet facility within the compound. This means that most residents depend on public sanitation facilities where they have to pay per use. We also learnt that 20% of these plots have available space to set up a Fresh Life Toilet. While Fresh Life Toilets make up only 5% of all sanitation options available, it is the most preferred among the residents – serving 55,000 people every single day.
We are now using this data to implement a targeted Fresh Life Toilet sales strategy. Starting with plots that have available space, our sales representatives are reaching out to the landlords and scheduling in person meetings for our subscription-based sanitation offering.
So far, we have installed nearly 30 new Fresh Life Toilets in the area. In the coming months, we will be monitoring the efficiency of this mapping exercise to determine its feasibility to help deepen penetration in our current areas of operation and in other territories as we seek to venture into new areas.