Lessons for growth


While Kenyan municipalities are working to reach the SDG 6 of 100% waste safely managed by 2030, they lack cost-effective waste processing solution resulting in untreated fecal sludge causing diarrheal diseases in communities. This is why we’re providing an alternative for municipalities and institutions – fecal-to-fuel factories. Along Sanivation’s development path, we’ve learned a few key lessons on that are changing the way we operate.

1. Customer discovery is crucial. By gaining a clear understanding of the pain points and of your target market, you can shape a solution and value proposition that meets their needs. Through meetings with the local municipality and water service provider, we learned that they’re searching for an affordable way to process the waste from pit latrines and septic tanks. Not only did they appreciate that we wanted to see the challenge from their view, but it enabled us to develop and share a value proposition that resonated most with them. Now, we’ve signed our first MOU with the local water service provider to build a new fecal-to-fuel factory and treat the non-sewered waste in the community.

2. Partnering with larger customers is the fastest way to scale growth and impact. Households often have limited budgets and competing interests for their money. As a result, they are not always able to afford sanitation upgrades, particularly when they are not accustomed to paying for it. Municipalities, labor camps, and landlords, not only have a legal mandate to provide sanitation, but also far larger budgets to cover the costs of this pubic good. Plus, by seeing these larger entities as customers you can reach more beneficiaries faster as well as achieve lower cost through economies of scale.

3. Building networks and trust is key. From municipalities to tea farms to households, all rely heavily on referrals for their purchasing decisions. By delivering high quality services and getting your company out there through stakeholder meetings, conferences, and public education events, you’re building the credibility and connections to gain new customers. At Sanivation, we’re now exploring partnerships to provide sanitation services and sustainable fuel to three tea farms all because of referrals.

As we at Sanivation expand beyond household sanitation services to work with municipalities and institutions to provide cost-effective waste processing solutions, these three key learnings are driving our growth so that we can improve the health and sustainability of these marginalized communities.