Life Force Kiosks is a nonprofit that aims to reduce preventable waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea to save lives in the most vulnerable communities. The organization developed a new model of preventing water contamination by working with existing community water vendors to purify water and clean storage containers affordably at the tap. Customers in slums such as Kibera, just outside Nairobi, Kenya, are used to bringing their water containers to local water taps and paying for the water vendors to fill them. Life Force Kiosks equips these water vendors with the supplies and signage they need to offer water purification and container cleaning services to customers for a small incremental charge, which enables them to boost their earnings while providing a valuable service to the community.
In implementing this model, Life Force Kiosks would depend on a portion of the money collected from consumers to help underwrite the costs of the program and enable it to become sustainable on a long-term basis. Accordingly, it needed a system for tracking inventory, as well as the payments made to the water vendors for cleaning and purification services. Corruption at the water vendor level was common, so the organization was not comfortable relying on an honor system. This mini-case study explores the solution that Life Force Kiosks ultimately devised.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Jeremy Farkas of Life Force Kiosks for his participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.