It’s with great excitement that I announce that Life Force Kiosks began operations in the Gatwekera village of Kibera today. We launched this morning with an incredibly successful community event. The band and Emcee did a fantastic job of gathering and entertaining crowds of people who sat in our tents and lined the street to hear about Life Force Kiosks.
Photo by Tobin Jones
A community leader opened the meeting with some rousing remarks before handing things over to our General Manager, Steve, who then gave a detailed presentation of our services. I spoke next and outlined some of the key benefits of Life Force Kiosks. I explained how our service offers the unique combination of affordability, convenience, effectiveness, and no impact on taste & smell. I also reiterated the details of our weekly raffle. We had two guest speakers who also made presentations. Professor Karama from the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Mr. Wanjohi from the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MoPHS) both gave presentations discussing the health benefits of the Life Force Kiosks model. I am extremely thankful that our two guest speakers were able to attend. Showing the community that both KEMRI and the MoPHS support Life Force Kiosks gives us instant credibility and should help accelerate adoption.
After the conclusion of the presentations, the band continued to entertain the community as we passed out more leaflets and gave free samples of Life Force Kiosks treated water. The afternoon was spent setting up the kiosks so we could immediately start selling our services and improving the water quality and storage conditions in Kibera. Over the coming days and months I look forward to giving you regular updates on how things are going. I’ll also be sharing both our success stories and any lessons learned.
In addition to the pictures in this post, I encourage you to check out our Flickr account for additional photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/33468302@N02/. I’d like to thank Tobin Jones, a good friend and professional photographer who volunteered his time today to take some great pictures. Over the next few days I’ll post additional pictures to the Flickr account and on our website at www.LifeForceKiosks.org.
I want to thank all of you who have been following our story for over a year. But this is just the beginning. The exciting part starts now!
Photo by Tobin Jones
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Life Force Kiosks Presentation
This past week I had the exciting opportunity to give a presentation on the Life Force Kiosks concept to the Kenyan Inter-agency Coordination Committee (ICC) at their quarterly National Environmental Sanitation & Hygiene conference. The ICC is composed of the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health & Sanitation, Ministry of Water, Ministry of Education, and representatives from most major NGOs including UNICEF, Oxfam, CARE, KWAHO, and many others. Overall there were roughly 50 attendees.
Life Force Kiosks Presentation 2
The Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO) invited me to present and introduce Life Force Kiosks to the major players in the water and sanitation sector. It was fantastic to discuss our concept with so many experts in the field, and it was incredibly energizing that our model was met with nothing but positivity and excitement.
Kenya ICC Meeting
I’ll be meeting with the CPHO again next week and I’m hoping we’ll soon have the official support of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation. I’m also meeting with the Kenya Medical Research Institute on Monday and they’ve indicated they can begin the water testing discussed in a previous post as early as this week.
Along with presenting at the ICC meeting, I also had the opportunity to hear about several other interesting water and sanitation programs being implemented throughout Kenya. We also went on a field visit to a very small village where CARE has been working to set up latrines, water tanks, and hand washing stations. They’ve done some great work and it was nice to go into the community and see how the achievements they’ve made. I’m already thinking of how to integrate the low-cost hand washing stations into the Life Force Kiosks model. Stay tuned for additional updates on our launch over the next few days.
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Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage Fair
We’re working hard to complete the few remaining critical tasks so we can launch our pilot in Kibera, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a fun story. A couple of weeks ago the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, in conjunction with UNICEF, KWAHO, and several other sponsors including PATH, hosted a public fair on household water treatment and safe storage.
Ministry of Public Health and other NGO officials
I attended with one of my colleagues from PATH to run our booth and discuss the work we’re doing around social marketing for water treatment products. To kick off the fair and generate awareness, a procession complete with marching band and school children holding big banners was held through the streets of downtown Nairobi. Right before it started, I was called over by the Chief Public Health Officer and was asked to join him along with the Deputy Minister of Public Health and Sanitation, the UNICEF Country Representative, the Kenyan Director of Water Services, and a few other high-ranking officials who were leading the parade.
PATH's booth at the HWTSS Fair
Unfortunately I didn’t get to carry the giant Kenyan flag or conduct the band, but all in all, getting to help lead a parade through Nairobi was still a pretty interesting experience!
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