2012 has arrived, but I wanted to take a moment and reflect on all that was accomplished in 2011. I remember this time last year we were facing challenges with Kenyan government support and registration. Steve was our only salaried employee and we were working out of my Nairobi apartment due to extremely limited funding. Our model was still conceptually fluid. At this time last year we were still nearly six months away from launching operations in Kibera.
However, despite these challenges, we launched on May 25, 2011 and saw tremendous success right out of the gate. We focused heavily on generating awareness of Life Force Kiosks in the market and worked hard at communicating the benefits we brought to the people of Kibera. We saw a need for a water purification solution that was truly affordable, convenient, effective, and didn’t ruin the taste of the water. We thought that Life Force Kiosks would meet that need, and the community agreed. During our first full month of operations we purified roughly 20,000 liters of water. In November that number was closer to 70,000! I’m excited to say that in 2011, Life Force Kiosks purified over 312,000 liters of drinking water! Of course putting clean water in a dirty storage container doesn’t do much good, which is why we’ve also cleaned about 3,000 storage containers. What might be even more incredible is that we did all that with a budget of around $15,000.
I’d once again like to thank all our generous donors who made all of this possible. And of course, the real heroes of Life Force Kiosks are Steve Mumbwani, Fred Omondi, and our ten kiosk vendors. Our board consisting of Scott Espiritu, Richard Wardell, Andrew Otieno, and Rikka Trangsrud also provided extremely valuable support and I greatly appreciate all their efforts.
2012 brings some exciting new opportunities. The growth from 20,000 to 70,000 liters of water purified per month without hiring additional vendors or increasing our marketing budget shows the clear demand for the services Life Force Kiosks is providing. The next step is to expand our vendor network, as that’s the best way to increase our positive impact in Kibera. We’re talking with two organizations that are potentially interested in providing funding, and of course we hope our donors will continue to see the value in supporting Life Force Kiosks. I look forward to sharing updates on our progress throughout 2012 and beyond. I wish you all a very happy new year.