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Life Force Kiosks just completed its fifth month of live operations and we continue to see fantastic results.  I was pleased with our first month’s performance of purifying 20,000 liters of water.  However, that number pales in comparison to this month’s outstanding result of 55,000 liters of drinking water purified.  Since launching in late May, we’ve cleaned over 200,000 liters of drinking water!  We’ve also performed 2,230 water storage container cleanings.

While Steve, Freddy, and I are very pleased with the impact we’re making in Kibera, we’re hungry for more.  We’re currently looking for funding opportunities that will allow us to expand the number of vendors offering our services.  It will not be operationally difficult for us to double or even triple the number of vendors in our network.  I’m confident that doubling the number of vendors will more than double the amount of water we can purify, as our expansion will give our organization even more credibility and convince some skeptics to give us a try.  Plus, the more people in a given social circle adopt a product, the more social pressure holdouts start to feel to join in.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation and help give the people of Kibera access to clean drinking water, please visit www.LifeForceKiosks.org.  As always, we appreciate your support.  It really does make a difference.

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My apologies in not posting more updates over the past couple of months, but I’m delighted to present our sales data from our first quarter of operations.  In just three months, Life Force Kiosks has purified 91,260 liters of drinking water in Kibera!  We have also cleaned 1,168 water storage containers.  What’s ever more exciting is our growth:

Month 1:  19,880 liters
Month 2:  29,080 liters
Month 3:   42,300 liters

It’s clear that this model of working with the vendors to purify water right at the point of sale is working.  The Life Force Kiosks model presents an extremely affordable, convenient, effective way to purify water that minimizes the negative impact on taste, and it has been strongly adopted by the community.

In addition to our strong product offering, our local management team has done an incredible job of strengthening our vendor network and generating demand through community marketing campaigns.  We meet regularly with our water vendors to recognize top performers, talk through challenges, and discuss sales goals.  This type of sales support has never been available to the water vendors and they’re growing professionally as well as earning more income for their families while performing an important community service.  Our marketing efforts like our weekly raffles and door-to-door presentations have also been successful at educating the public and creating demand.

Even with the great success we’ve seen over the past few months, everyone at Life Force Kiosks remains confident that our impact can be even greater.  We’re still working with some vendors who have opportunity to improve and are experimenting with new marketing approaches.  In addition, these sales numbers were accomplished despite consistent water outages across our vendor network.  Over time, equipping our vendors with water storage tanks will make their services even more valuable in the community.  In addition, we will be seeking some modest additional funding to hopefully expand our coverage area beyond our existing 10 vendors.

I want to once again thank our generous donors, board members, management team, and everyone else who has supported Life Force Kiosks to date.  We’re rapidly approaching the 100,000 liters mark and we couldn’t have done it without the help of many dedicated people.  This is truly a remarkable success story, and I can’t wait to see it continue to grow from here.

If you are interested in making a donation to Life Force Kiosks, you can easily do so at www.LifeForceKiosks.org.  We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States and a registered NGO in Kenya.

Life Force Kiosks customer raffle

Life Force Kiosks customer raffle

Every Sunday, Life Force Kiosks is in the community conducting our raffles.  For anyone new to this blog, I’ll provide a quick overview.  Whenever a customer buys either a water treatment top-up or a jerry can washing from Life Force Kiosks, their sales receipt doubles as a raffle ticket.  This has two substantial benefits.

1.  Raffles are a great demand generation tool, especially here in Kenya.  People just love them here.  So while reducing the risk of waterborne disease might not compelling enough on its own, throwing in the chance to win some fun prizes helps push people over the edge.  Sales shot up dramatically once we implemented our raffles.  This promotion both rewards customers to increase loyalty and creates product awareness and demand among non-users.

2.  The raffles provide motivation for customers to demand a receipt.  This allows us to accurately track sales and collect the appropriate amount from our vendors.   

If you’d like to see Steve in action, below is a video clip capturing a couple of minutes from one of our raffles.  Additional pictures are also available at https://lifeforcekiosks.org/Photo_Album.php or by clicking on the Flickr section on the right side of the page at www.CleanWaterForAll.net

Enjoy!

Month 1 of Life Force Kiosks is in the books, and I’m excited about our results so far.  In just our first month, we have purified over 20,000 liters of drinking water and cleaned over 330 storage containers.  Considering this is a brand new service and several vendors took a few weeks before they really started to actively promote our services, I’d say this is a great start. 

We’re currently averaging between 1,000 and 1,500 liters of drinking water purified per day, and I hope to see that number continue to rise over time.  But even at our current volumes, we’re on track to grow over 50% from month 1 to 2 and purify over 30,000 liters of water. 

I again want to recognize and congratulate Steve, Freddy, and our vendor network for an outstanding job right out of the gate.  Clearly the community appreciates their efforts as well.

I spent a few days this week in rural Kenya working on a sanitation project so I wasn’t able to announce a huge milestone.  Life Force Kiosks recently purified our 10,000th liter of drinking water in Kibera.  Actually, we’re already at over 11,000 liters purified.  We’ve also cleaned about 200 water storage containers. 

As expected, sales were initially low, but we’ve seen steady growth and have purified over 1,000 liters per day for the past couple of days.  I attribute the growth to two main activities.

  1. Vendor improvements – Our management team has done a great job of making improvements with our vendor network.  In many cases, we used a three-day training approach where Steve spent two days running a kiosk with the vendor by his side watching.  On the third day, Steve was still at the same kiosk all day but the vendor did all the work and Steve observed.  This allowed Steve, who is charismatic and trained in community development, to give our sales pitch to every customer who approached the water tap and generate consumer demand for two consecutive days.  It also allowed the vendor to see firsthand what an effective sales pitch looks like, including overcoming objections.  Lastly, it let the vendors get over their nervousness about the new service and see that the community is responding positively and they really can make more money by working with us.  In some extreme cases, we removed vendors who were not performing and replaced them with vendors who had greater interest.
  2. Community Raffle – The cornerstone of our marketing program is our weekly raffles.  The biggest problem with most health promotions is that they don’t focus on the real things that motivate people.  Look at any gym commercial in the United States.  You don’t see a doctor explaining how exercise reduces the risk of heart disease.  You see beautiful, toned people glistening with sweat in very little clothing because people want to look like that so they can date other people who look like that.  Our raffles motivate our customers by giving them a chance to win something they really want like household wares they couldn’t otherwise afford or cell phone credit.  I wish that reducing the risk of waterborne disease was motivation enough, but it’s just not and never will be.  We had our first round of weekly raffles over the weekend and as expected, they attracted large crowds.  Everyone wanted to know how they could participate in the raffle and several asked if they could buy our services right then and there.  As we do more and more of these raffles, I expect every member of the community to eventually hear about and at least consider utilizing the services of Life Force Kiosks.  I don’t know too many marketers who would say they see that kind of impact from a billboard, brochure, or direct mail campaign.

The entire team is incredibly excited at the positive reaction we’ve seen in the community.  Even more exciting is that there’s still a huge amount of potential for growth.  We’re just three weeks old and haven’t even started our community presentations at women’s groups, schools, etc.  Stay tuned for future updates.  We’re just warming up!

Life Force Kiosks just completed its second full week of operations and the initial results are positive.  So far our ten vendors have purified over 4,000 liters of drinking water and cleaned over 150 water storage containers.  Not bad for a brand new service in one of the poorer villages within Kibera. 

 Life Force Kiosks stand in Kibera

Life Force Kiosks stand in Kibera

Sales were a bit slow after the first couple of days, but our management team has been doing a great job of working with the vendors to improve performance.  One vendor went several days with no sales at all.  Steve spent all day on Monday and Tuesday co-running the stand with that vendor and he sold over 20 chlorine top-ups.  That showed the vendor that people really do want our service and he really can make some extra money by working with us.  Today Steve just spent the day observing but let the vendor take full control, and that vendor made 13 sales on his own.  We plan on replicating that process for all under-performing vendors over the next couple of weeks and expect to see solid improvement across our vendor network.  Once that is done and we feel confident that all vendors are fully on board and comfortable with their roles, we’ll shift our focus towards community marketing and consumer demand generation. 

I’ll continue to post updates to let you know how things are going.  So far I’m very pleased with our early performance and more importantly with the potential we’re seeing.

 

Life Force Kiosks stand

Life Force Kiosks stand

After the first full day of operations, I’m pleased to report that things are going very well so far and our vendors have been successfully promoting our services.  Since we started operations on Wednesday, we have already cleaned 43 water storage containers and sold 56 doses of chlorine water treatment.  That equates to 1,120 liters of drinking water that’s been purified by Life Force Kiosks in just a day and a half.

LFK Vendor cleaning a water storage container

LFK Vendor cleaning a water storage container

What’s exciting is that most of the vendors have quickly embraced the Life Force Kiosks model and are actively promoting the services.  The community is showing good interest for such a new service as well.  Over time as we iron out some of the kinks with our vendors and ramp up our demand generation activities, I’m very optimistic that these numbers will grow and we’ll be able to make a significant impact to the health of the community.

Life Force Kiosks Vendor in action

Life Force Kiosks Vendor in action

Stay tuned for additional updates and photos over the coming days and weeks.

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