Emerging stronger together: Our partnership with the French Embassy in Kenya, AFD and urban residents in combating COVID-19

Eunice Mbitha, a mother of 3 is a seasoned entrepreneur running several businesses in Nairobi’s Mukuru informal settlement. She owns house rental units where 10 households live, and a retail shop for household items. In the three decades she has lived in this area, Eunice has overcome many challenges, her biggest one being unemployment. As a result, she has learnt how to work and build networks that have aided in building her successful businesses.

Eunice Mbitha during an interview following the launch of her new Fresh Life Toilet

However, the Covid-19 pandemic that commenced in March last year in Kenya has truly put her efforts to the test. With lockdowns, restriction of movement and no social gatherings, Eunice has not been very active in meeting with other entrepreneurs. At the same time, staying at home made her rethink sanitation for her household and tenants.

Since she launched the house rental units, she had not installed a toilet inside the compound. Residents used pay-per-use public facilities located about 200 meters away. With the prevalence of Covid disease, Eunice felt more at risk visiting the crowded facilities and hence her desire to install a toilet within her compound. Thanks to the support of the French Embassy in Kenya and AFD a Fresh Life Toilet is now accessible to Eunice and her tenants, they safely shelter in place.

Today, Sanergy marks one year since we partnered with the French Embassy in Kenya and AFD to support urban residents like Eunice contain and prevent the spread of Covid-19 through delivery of safe sanitation services. Our work together has involved building more toilet facilities in residential areas of Mukuru and Mathare informal settlements in Nairobi.

In parallel, we have been enhancing the safety of our network and sanitation workers to ensure continuity of services at this critical time. We have provided protective equipment to all our Logistics Team, who collect and remove waste on a regular basis, while ensuring that our Fresh Life Operators have fully equipped hand washing stations to ensure that urban residents wash their hands frequently as one measure of preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Fresh Life Operator Jane Wangari using the USSD customer support application to pay for her monthly toilet subscription

Technology has also played a critical role in safeguarding our communities, during this time of minimal physical contact. Leveraging on customer support and waste management mobile applications built in-house, we have strengthened our communication with all our customers, ensuring that our service delivery is consistent and of high quality.

Under this partnership, we have launched more than 500 new Fresh Life Toilets to date that serve 21,000 urban residents every single day. Our solutions build both short term and long term community resilience against the Covid-19 infection and sanitation diseases.

In this decade of action towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, Sanergy is steadfast in our commitment to revolutionize cities through city-wide inclusive sanitation services. We are aiming to scale our services to reach more than 1 million people by 2025. We are proud to be working with great partners such as French Embassy in Kenya and AFD to achieve these goals.

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