August 22, 2014
Now that the first two pilot sites are underway we’ve turned towards building new partnerships for expansion. Originally we expected to pilot in Port-au-Prince then move out to another region, potentially the Artibonite and Northwest. Since getting underway we’ve seen the value of continuing to refine our programs and learn through expanding our presence within Port-au-Prince before spreading out across Haiti.
Thanks to our host organization and partner, Haiti Communitere, we have been able to quickly make connections with other organizations in Cite Soleil, where our two pilot sites are located. We presented our business and product to community leaders connected with HC at the monthly roundtable in July. From there we conducted site visits in four communities. Expanding through the HC network has helped us to quickly identify strong community leaders and grassroots organizations. From our first meetings with them, the HC contacts have proven knowledgeable and dedicated to increasing access to important resources, such as chlorine to treat water, in their communities.
Wanting to build on what we were learning in Bwa Nef, a neighborhood in urban Cite Soleil, we decided to launch a third site in Cite Limye, which is a similar neighborhood. One major difference, is the presence of community health mobilization in Cite Limye through an organization called Malteser International. In addition, Cite Limye has a different socioeconomic status, noted by the improved housing and availability of resources.
Another promising site has been Fountain Drouillards along Route 9 in La Plaine of Cite Soleil, between Bwa Nef and Menelas. At the Cite Limye site we have already trained and hired a community manager. However, in Fountain Drouillards we are going to test using a one of our existing managers to deliver chlorine and coordinate the entrepreneurs and marketing there. Fountain Drouillards is a smaller community, so it would not be cost effective to hire a community manager without first determining the demand for chlorine there.
In these two new sites we are using revised and refined program documents for accounting, stock management and work hours. In addition, we are able to start fresh with customer monitoring practices in hopes of tracking a higher percentage of customers in these new sites that we have been able to attain in the pilot sites.
As an overall business we have been focusing on reducing transport costs and reaching additional customers. Reaching additional customers is both a matter of covering more portions of our existing communities and increasing customers per entrepreneur, as well as, increasing the number of sites to reach new communities.
For the near future we will focus on establishing and improving the 4 sites in Cite Soleil. This will allow us to test using our Bwa Nef site as a local depot from which Carline can deliver chlorine and buckets to the other sites or other community managers can come to pick-up their stock of chlorine or buckets. This is an important program shift away from Kouzin Dlo being responsible ot all deliveries to communities. This in turn creates more independence of each community site which will allow Kouzin Dlo to begin expansion in other parts of Port-au-Prince and eventually outside of the city.
One short-term goal, is to get the existing four sites ready to function on their own for two weeks in late September/early October when Jess will be out of country. This is an important milestone for the site to reach before we can begin planning for wider expansion. If successful, Kouzin Dlo will begin prepare to launch new sites in another region of Port-au-Prince starting in October.