This week we interview Ruth Kimama, an Area Manager at Sanergy to learn more about our FLO Community, about how Sanergy engages its Fresh Life Operators to become smart and effective business leaders.
On March 23rd, the Lemelson Foundation awarded Sanergy its inaugural Sustainable Practice Impact Award – given by the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and funded by the Lemelson Foundation at the NCIIA’s annual Open Minds conference. We are just so honored to have been recognized for our work by the pre-eminent foundation that focuses on innovation and invention and by the NCIIA, who have supported us since our beginnings at MIT.
Nathan Cooke, co-founder of Sanergy and an instructor at MIT’s D-Lab, represented Sanergy at the conference. He shares his takeaways today on our blog:
As the Millennium Development Goals approach their 2015 expiration date, the definition of sanitation has become an increasingly hot topic. The world has not yet achieved MDG 7c: halving the proportion of people without access to sanitation. In fact, it hasn’t even come close yet.
According to the UN, 2.5 billion people lack access to proper toilet facilities. Yet, according to researchers at the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, that number is a drop in the bucket -it is actually 4.1 billion people.
Why the difference? The UN measures access to the toilet and how well it protects the user from contact with waste. UNC researchers also considered whether or not the waste was treated, and how that waste affected the community.
As we roll out toilets across Nairobi today, the citizens of Thomaston, Maine (population 2,781) are preparing us for tomorrow. Mike Hahn, Sanergy’s Product Design Manager, spent six months with us in Nairobi, then returned to his hometown, Thomaston, to develop the prototype for the next iteration of the Fresh Life Toilet.
Mike had wanted to do this work in Nairobi. But one impediment kept getting in the way: prototyping tools and supplies were difficult to get his hands on. Sanergy is committed to changing this as we build a sustainable industry across the entire sanitation value chain. That includes creating space for design innovation and reliable manufacturing with well-trained local staff. In the meantime, we get by with a little help from our friends.
Kui Mungai, who works on Sanergy’s waste management team, helped launched the ‘I Am Kenyan’ initiative at Sanergy. Kui shares her own experiences from the last election and the story behind ‘I Am Kenyan‘ with us. Please keep the citizens of Kenya in your thoughts this week. We all wish for a peaceful, fair election.
I was only 13 years old when Kenya erupted in violence in response to the 2007 elections. I was living in Nairobi, and lucky to be in an area that was very safe, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t experience the fear. Our home, where you could usually hear kids playing all day, had fallen completely silent. Distant gunshots would periodically break the silence. We couldn’t leave our home, and you could feel the hostility in the air. My mum would tell me, “Pray my daughter! That’s all you can do.”