Reflections on Fresh Life Operator Training and “Wakili Wako”
Edith Waringa Kamau joins Sanergy as a communications intern this summer from Washington and Lee University and African Leadership Academy. She recently sat in on a training session for our Fresh Life toilet Operators (FLOs) and shares her observations here. FLO trainings take place every 2 weeks and cover a range of topics from customer service to keeping good records and building a strong business.
“Naitwa Faith Njeri. Mimi hufanya biashara ya kuuza maji huku Kwa Ruben. Nimeona choo kadhaa za Fresh Life katika kijiji chetu na hivyo ndivyo nilijua kuhusu Fresh Life. Nilivutiwa na usafi wa hiyo choo, na nikiangalia, ninaona kwamba ni kitu ambacho nimaweza taka kufanya ili niboreshe maisha yangu. Ni biashara mzuri.”
“My name is Faith Njeri and I run a water business here in Kwa Ruben. I knew about the Fresh Life because I saw some of their toilet facilities in my area. I was attracted to the Fresh Life Toilets due to their level of cleanliness, and I think it’s a good business to better my family’s life.”
The first of FLO trainings Sanergy conducted were held last October. Since then, we’ve made improvements so that they are shorter and more tailored to the needs of the prospective FLOs. In this session, most people expressed that they were drawn to becoming Fresh Life Operators because of the toilets’ clean and accessible nature. Others said they were drawn to Fresh Life because it aims to create a clean environment to reduce diseases that result from poor sanitation and hygiene. All in all, it was very impressive to see that potential FLOs shared a common vision with Sanergy.
The training session taught the potential FLOs how to take care of and run their Fresh Life facilities. Many of them already embodied the entrepreneurial spirit, having run successful businesses in their communities. The training reinforced some things they knew about business already, but also brought new ideas to the table about maintaining good relationships with their clients in order to keep them coming back.
Sanergy’s trainer extraordinaire, Anne Munene, took the group through games such as “Wakili Wako” (Your Lawyer) where one person speaks on another’s behalf to explore communication challenges, and “Waiter In The Desert”, in which a cup of water is placed in the center of a circle and a blindfolded party has to find it and bring it to the outside with the aid of a teammate. This latter game was an interesting exercise in gender dynamics, with the men being more vocal than the women, even if they were blindfolded! Attendees to the training were energized by the activities, and made them more welcoming to the idea of attending FLO Forums, where existing FLOs come together to share feedback.
All in all, the two-day Fresh Life training was an exciting experience that shed light on the opportunities Sanergy aspires to create with the people of the Mukuru area. Faith, it turns out, is now opening a Fresh Life toilet in Rurii area of Mukuru Kwa Ruben on a public road, where she will cater to business customers and commuters. With her enterprising spirit, she is taking steps to improving her family’s life.