Led by Emily Durfee, Sanergy has created and now launched a community-driven consumer marketing campaign in Mukuru and Lunga Lunga areas of Nairobi. Here, Emily explains the philosophy behind this demand generation strategy and details the first (theatrical!) component of the initiative.

A few days after the devastating tragedy in Sinai, team Sanergy was back in the field, putting on our “edutainment” performances under a beautiful rainbow.  Life in the slums goes on, constantly striving toward a better tomorrow, overcoming both singular disasters and daily trials.  And today, many people took time out of their busy days to watch the edutainment performances, one part of our demand generation strategy.

Albert, a leader of the U-Tena Performing Arts Youth Group, facilitates a community discussion on sanitation and Fresh Life. (Who wants a Fresh Life t-shirt?)

Creating a marketing plan for Fresh Life has forced us to reflect on Sanergy’s core values.  We are a business focused on generating a profit – in order to build a sustainable system of improving life in the slums.  We wanted not only to increase brand recognition for Fresh Life, but also to mobilize the community to recognize current sanitation problems and empower them to seek better options like Fresh Life.  Therefore, our demand generation strategy combines traditional marketing and branding techniques with community mobilization and awareness programs.

Our first mobilization and marketing program, edutainment performances by local theater groups, begins with a 5-minute mobilization in which acrobats perform dazzling stunts to gather a large crowd of people in public, open-air spaces.  The theater group then performs a series of skits about the negative effects of poor sanitation and the positive alternative that Fresh Life offers.  Finally, one performer facilitates a discussion about sanitation and Fresh Life, while the acrobats hand out flyers detailing Fresh Life.

Acrobatic members of the MISPATH Performing Arts Youth Group gather a crowd before the skits and community discussion begin.

The success of these programs has been exhilarating to witness.  They have attracted very large audiences that remain riveted throughout the performance and discussion, and avidly read their flyers at the close of the program.  This level of engagement shows we’ve sparked people’s critical thinking about sanitation, and empowered them to find healthier options like Fresh Life.

Community members read Fresh Life flyers once the program has ended.

Through this process, the theater group members have become our enthusiastic ambassadors, confiding in me that they firmly believe Fresh Life will improve the community, and pointing out places where they want someone to build a Fresh Life toilet.  Their thirst for positive change  and belief in sustainable development echo the core beliefs of Sanergy’s demand generation plan.

Sanergy is providing a solution to poor sanitation, but it is the action of the slum residents that ultimately effects change in their communities.  I am proud that we are helping to facilitate this communal empowerment and am inspired each time I see the resilience, strength and beauty that emerges from difficulty in the slums, much like the rainbow watching us this evening.

A rainbow drapes the sky above a recent edutainment performance.

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