Lately, Mukuru has started to look a little less like one of Nairobi’s informal settlements, and more like Glengarry Glen Ross. Our first model of lead generation was to address the commercial market, where entrepreneurs purchase and run Fresh Life toilets as a business. This market is doing exceedingly well, with 30 franchisees running 50 Fresh Life Toilets in Mukuru. Over 2,000 residents now have access to hygienic sanitation, but we’re not done. Coffee is for closers.
Another step in the provision of hygienic sanitation to everyone lies in a new strategy our Sales team is developing — expanding our markets to cater to landlords.
Oftentimes in Mukuru, residents do not have sanitation facilities within (or surrounding) their homes, and have to resort to traveling to unhygienic pit latrines or practicing open defecation. According to Amnesty International’s report “Risking Rape To Reach A Toilet”, the distance one has to walk to get to a toilet in Nairobi’s slums at night is particularly unsettling for women and children because it means risking sexual assault.
In response to this problem, our Sales team has been thinking through ways to pitch landlords on the purchase of Fresh Life toilets for their plots. Putting toilets right within safe distance raises the value of a property, and landlords would be able to charge more rent. James Mwaura (pictured below) has been tasked with setting this strategy, and he’s been speaking with chairmen of the various areas, discussing pricing models with local landlords, and trying to understand what the residents themselves want in terms of sanitation.
Housing in the informal settlements is built on a plot form. One landlord typically owns between 6-12 rooms within a plot. Under the new Kenyan constitution:
(1) Every person has the right— to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care; accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation; freedom from hunger, adequate food of acceptable quality, clean and safe water in adequate quantities, social security, and education.
Landlords will be pressed to provide hygienic sanitation to their residents. Placing a Fresh Life toilet on their plot could mean an additional 1,600 Ksh per month. James is hoping this is a lucrative proposition to the landlords, and Sales has plans to lock in a pricing model by mid-July. The success of the pitch to landlords (where the toilets would be seen as a service rather than a stand-alone business) could also grow to include schools, clinics, churches, and other more service-oriented establishments.