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Youth Fresh Life Operators.

Youth Fresh Life Operators

Thanks to support from the Forward Foundation and Kiva, we recently welcomed 20 youth Fresh Life Operators, ages 18 – 25, to the Fresh Life family.

These youth are graduates of our first ever 4-day Youth Fresh Life Operator Training. During the training Sanergy team members, who themselves are young adults from the community taught the youth about entrepreneurship, the importance of goal setting, financial management, branding, marketing, and customer relations through group discussions, youth presentations, lectures, field work, and take home assignments.

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Alex in front of Nairobi City Hall.

Alex in front of Nairobi City Hall.

At Sanergy we are building healthy, prosperous communities through disruptive solutions to the most critical challenges. We are proud of the dense network of Fresh Life businesses we have established in Kenya’s informal settlements.

In order to meet our goal of making hygienic sanitation affordable and accessible to all, it is crucial for us to establish collaborative relationships with all levels of the Kenyan government.

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Fresh Life Operator David Mai in front of his Fresh Life Toilet

Fresh Life Operator David Mai in front of his Fresh Life Toilet

The Fresh Life Operators who own and operate our Fresh Life Toilets are an amazing group of individuals – not simply business owners, but leaders who inspire their community – and our team – every single day. We are so proud to announce the Sanergy family has added its 100th Fresh Life Operator. This week we introduce you to the man who marks that milestone, David Mairuru.

When did you become a businessman?

I used to work in other people’s fields and gardens to pay my school fees and save money to start my own business. I was able to save enough money to open my first business, the shop my wife and I still operate, in 2003.

How did you accomplish this?

There are no limits to starting a business.. It’s just how you manage your money. If I get 10 ksh (11 cents) I can make it to 15 ksh (17 cents) with hard work. When I got my first job in Nairobi, I opened a bank account, and was able to save most of my monthly salary. When you have money in the bank, you can open your mind – see how you can gain. I save for business improvements, like the Fresh Life Toilet I bought for my newest compound. When you make an investment, you can quickly move up and onto another business opportunity.

What is your motivation?

My wife, Everline and I have three children – Faith is 10, Barack (named after then-Senator Barack Obama) is 8, and Innocent is 3. We aspire to the kind of lives we see people living in other estates. I watch other children being escorted to school in vehicles, and I want that for our children. It will happen soon. I bought a beautiful two-acre plot outside of Mukuru in 2008, and have been depositing the profits from my businesses into my savings account each month, to build the house. 

What is your vision for your neighborhood?

My neighbors and I – we didn’t choose to be here, but we manage, and we improve where we can. I do my best to make this a nice place to live. When I opened my new compound with its Fresh Life Toilet last month, I invited my friends to the official training, so that they could learn about Fresh Life. I let them use my Fresh Life Toilet for free, because I want to encourage them to buy Fresh Life Toilets. I tell them that the Fresh Life Toilet is so small that I can put it in the hallway, which lets me rent out the room that would have otherwise been occupied by the pit latrine. Also, if I had gotten a pit latrine then the waste removers would have dumped my tenants’ waste in a nearby waterway, leaving a bad odor and a dirty hallway in my complex. We can do better. I want to be able to go door to door in my neighborhood, and find a Fresh Life Toilet behind every door.

David's brand new compound hallway, apartment doors on left, and Fresh Life Toilet at the end of the hallway

David’s brand new compound hallway, apartment doors on left, and Fresh Life Toilet at the end of the hallway

Sanergy team members  James Mbugua and Peter Macharia instructing Baptist Primary School students in proper Fresh Life Toilet use.

Sanergy team members James Mbugua and Peter Macharia instructing Baptist Primary School teachers and students in proper Fresh Life Toilet use

The global sanitation crisis is frightening when it comes to kids. 1.6 million children die each year from diarrheal-related disease – 27,400 in Kenya alone.i This is higher than the number of deaths caused by AIDS, malaria and TB combined. According to the World Bank, 54% of international variation across height for under-developed children can be attributed to a lack of hygienic sanitation.ii This last stat is stunning. Basically, it doesn’t matter how developed the country where a child grows up is; it’s just whether or not you have access to hygienic sanitation that largely determines that child’s growth.

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At Sanergy, we are able to meet our goals thanks to a team of individuals who possess not only technical expertise, but also a passion for and deep commitment to bringing hygienic sanitation to the slums. We found all of these attributes and more in the 7 student interns that we recently welcomed to the Sanergy family. Read on to learn what Anita, Brianna, Rishub, Waweru, Allison, Sale, and Kyle have done this summer to improve our day-to-day operations.

In addition to our fantastic interns, we also want to celebrate sponsors Colgate University, Columbia University, University of the Pacific, The World We Want Foundation, and Washington University in St. Louis.

ANita_high

Anita Jivani

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