Day 1 of the field interviews is now complete and after 6 interviews, there were some interesting findings. One issue that I somewhat expected, but not to the extent I saw it, was the tendency for people to tell me what I wanted to hear instead of what’s really happening. There were numerous instances where people would contradict themselves during the interview. When I questioned them on the inconsistencies, I would often find the truth to be very different from what they first told me. Here are a few examples.
- One woman told me that she used to use WaterGuard, a chlorine solution, but stopped because it was too expensive. When I asked how much it cost, she said she didn’t know. She eventually told me that her daughter used to buy WaterGuard, but since her daughter moved to a different town, she really just never thought about buying it herself.
- Another woman told me that she usually boils water, but occasionally uses chlorine tablets. When asked about the price, she said firewood for boiling 20 liters of water costs 20 shillings. Chlorine cost 40 shillings for a 20 pack of tablets, each good for purifying 20 liters of water. I asked why she didn’t use the chlorine tablets more often, and she said they were too expensive. When I pointed out that per 20 liters of water, tablets were 10x cheaper, she then said that she actually doesn’t buy firewood, but rather goes on long walks to collect it from the ground.
- Every person told me they believe their drinking water source is not clean and would pay up to 1,500 for a water filter. Several said they have gotten typhoid, which cost 2,000 – 3,000 shillings to treat. Yet many of these same people said they don’t currently purify their water because it’s too expensive.
Fortunately, there were some valuable findings. Please note that all 6 of the women interviewed were from the same village, in the same widow’s club. They were also on the more extreme end of the poverty scale. Over the next several days we’ll interview people from other areas to get a more representative sample.
- Nearly every woman said they would be extremely interested in buying the filter in installments. Most know the vendors in the local Kiminini market, and would feel comfortable paying anywhere from 100 – 500 shillings per month for 3-10 months until they’ve saved enough to take home a filter. They would not feel comfortable paying in installments with a vendor they did not know, and all but one said they would have no interest in the filter if they had to pay for it in full.
- In this group, most preferred to buy the filter as opposed to the water kiosk model because it’s ultimately cheaper. Some were also afraid there would be days they didn’t have the 5-10 shillings to purchase water, or that they might forget to buy the clean water. Many did say that if that they preferred the water kiosk model to their current behaviors of boiling or drinking unfiltered water, but buying the filter in installments would be their first choice.
- Their financial situations are dramatically improved during the harvest season (Sept – Dec). That is when most of them make any big purchases. If we are going to spend resources promoting the water filters, it likely makes sense to do it around September or October. Many said that even if the filters were ready now and they wanted to buy them, they simply couldn’t at this time due to lack of funds.
It will be very interesting to see how answers differ as we meet with people from different areas and slightly higher incomes. I will post updates in the next day or two.
Also, be sure to check out several new pictures on Flickr. I have pictures of the village and of the market in Kiminini. Pictures of the water filter factory will be up soon.