June 15, 2015
A year ago today the Kouzin Dlo launch team was touching down in Haiti. I, Jess Laporte, was lucky to have 4 very different and very talented people to help Kouzin Dlo get off the ground. Over this past year the Kouzin Dlo team has transitioned from 4 international volunteers to 7 part-time Haitian employees and a team of over 50 sales agents in 6 different communities across Port-au-Prince.
Even if this past year has changed us through challenges and learning, our goals remain the same - to reduce the spread of cholera and other waterborne diarrheal diseases through widespread distribution of low-cost and effective clean water technology. We’re committed to leveraging local products and knowledge to reach further and deeper into communities.
Kouzin Dlo is able to reach households with clean water products through a growing network of sales agents led by local community managers. We work with women because as the decision makers and care givers within the household they know the effects of waterborne disease and have the power to prevent it through daily choices and practices. From day one our motto has been clean water for Haitians by Haitians. In our first year we’ve seen that this guiding concept has led to unexpected discoveries, important changes in our strategy and an increasingly indigenous approach to sales.
Over the next few months we are welcoming 3 (and possibly more) international volunteers to help us further develop our business model and practices based on all that we’ve learned and continue to explore. In July we will hold trainings to add to our existing sales teams, then in August we will look towards launching 3-5 new sites in September. In order to support growth and track our progress we’re also rolling out a new mobile customer tracking system and starting a second pilot of our mobile app for remote data collection at our sites.
If there’s one thing this first year of operations has showed us, it’s that we don’t have all the answers, but hopefully we’re putting together the right ingredients to make something BIG happen. We hope to continue learning from our employees, customers and peers to consistently provide clean water access to more families in more communities over this next year. We’re excited to see where our next pilots and expansion bring us over year 2!
We wouldn’t be here without the cheerleaders and supporters helping us to launch, build and grow.