Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Aug 15 -- Meeting with Sanergy and Hope World Wide

Aug 15, 2012

More updates on the price
Pump alone: 4000KSH
With wooden Structure: 7000KSH
With metal Structure: 8000KSH
This is the price we are setting for now until further notice. 

Two productive meetings with Sanergy’s operation and marketing teams today.

The first meeting was with Dennis and his operation team (4 people). George, Danga, Isaiah and Emmah brought a functioning shower to Sanergy so we were able to desmostrate to the operation team how the shower works for them to better communicate with the operators.

They all looked excited about our shower and told us we start installing in two showers in operators’ plot (one with her own structure and one that needs our structure) for the one week trial. Our team went to meet the operator who owns a structure. They reported that the drainage system already exists in the structure and that it would be relatively easy to install the showers at her place.

In between the meetings, we talked to Nathan and Mike. They suggested that we should focus on one of the two markets: either the operator or household. Since the functional requirement for the two markets are different. The operator would want the shower to come in a nice package. As long as the product is offers the customers a good experience and requires minimum maintenance on her part, they would not mind paying a slightly higher price for it. The households, on the other hand, are more price sensitive. They want convenience of having the shower in their own homes and do not mind doing a bit extra work (such as pumping).

Looking at the requirements, it seems our product is more suitable for household or landlord for a plot. The pump we have is quite small so its easy to stall and suitable for one shower. The price is affordable to richer households or plots. But in any case, we think starting to work with the operators still has its benefit. We can see how operators react to our product and also use it as a tool to publicize to the local community about our shower.

The second meeting was with Moses from the marketing team. He is a very talkative guy and told us a lot about marketing. He kept emphasizing that the markets for the showers exist. To sell the showers, all we need is a nicely packaged pitch to the customers for them to see the benefits the showers can bring. He gave us a few pointers
1. Look the customers in their eyes when speaking.
2. Know your product very well to be able to take any questions they have.
3. Give them numbers (e.g. You can save 2 liters per shower with our product. With a family of four, that is 8 liters a day. That is 5 shillings. In a month, you would be able to save 150 shillings.)
4. Difficult customers can be better customers after you convince them than nice customers who always says ‘yes’.

Danga had a chance to ‘sell’ the shower to Bonnie, the Sanergy’s best salesperson and got some valuable feedbacks. Hope this short but potent sales lesson prepares the team well to pitch to the operators tomorrow.

After meeting with Sanergy, Danga, Kali and I went to meet with Benson, the chairperson of Hope World Wide in Kwa Rueben. The center is very spacious, clean and well organized.

Probably due to the many sponsors they have.

The center offers a wide range of services including free HIV testing, computer class, hairdressing (where I was very tempted to get my hair done) class, tailoring class and a clinic.

They have a real basketball court donated by Coca-Cola. There is even a computer room with about 10 computers, just to play ONE computer game (they told us they do not have any other programs on the computer which I think is total waste of computers). It’s a role playing game that was suppose to help in behavior change (though Kali saw something about disabling the alarm on the game handbook so we are doubting about the effectiveness of the computer game on promoting good behavior).

Benson pointing to us the rainwater collection system.

There is a nice mural in the spacious meeting room. The left half of the mural indicate the problems that exist in the slum. The right half side of the mural illustrate the vision for a better life in the slum.

It is a very educational tour. We were surprised by how well off the center is. Seems like there is a lot of funding from overseas if one knows how to secure them. We told Benson about our shower project. They can buy shower from us at a discounted rate of 3500KSH and sell it to the community at the normal selling price. They can keep the profit except they have to pay a 500KSH membership fee each month for the delivery and maintenance of the shower. Benson said that he will discuss with his manager and get back to us on Mon. We look forward to hear good news from him.

The other purpose for visiting the center was to identify potential project for EWB. For the center, it seems we can do some computer related project since they already have the facilities. Not sure about the impact and scale yet. We will keep on looking when we visit other groups in the next few days.

It was around 530pm when we wrapped up our meeting and hiked back to bus stop. Warning to future EWB teams: DO NOT TAKE MATATU TO TOWN AT THIS TIME. The traffic is very bad. Our matatu stopped at National Stadium and refused to go further due to the traffic.

We were stranded at the stadium for a while. The second matatu we went on was blasting radio at party music volume. The speed of the matatu is one tenth the speed of walking pedestrians besides us. So we eventually got off the matatu and walked back to town. But we were back safe and sound. Ready for tomorrow’s adventure! 


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