Kouzin Dlo

by tuftsigl
Aug 01
Emma Wells is a Community Health and Sociology major in the class of 2016.  She is an Empower fellow.
The past month in Haiti has been a blur. The Community Chlorinators team (called Kouzin Dlo in Haiti) hit the ground running from the moment it arrived. On our first day we went to the two communities that we are piloting in this summer: Bwa Nef and Menelas. On these visits we spoke with our community partners and toured the areas to assess the water and health resources available. Both have very limited access to safe water and sanitation facilities; the effect of which was driven home when a community health worker stated, “having diarrhea is the norm in Haiti.”
 
After contextualizing our business, we began the training and selection of the managers for our first two communities. In these trainings we discussed the spread of disease through water, our business model, marketing strategies, and more. The input from participants was unbelievably helpful in modifying our business to Haiti. Their feedback revealed the significant impact that the flood of post-earthquake aid had on markets and business in Haiti. Many have become accustomed to using free hand outs of Aquatabs during cholera outbreaks as opposed to consistently treating their water to prevent other waterborne diseases. 
With the help of our trainees we were able to brainstorm ways to market our product as an affordable health product that will protect families from disease. At the end of our training all participants received certificates that they can use as a reference and we selected the managers for our first two communities. 
 
Once we finished manager training, we took a couple days to reflect on how it went and make plans for our entrepreneur training and launch in the community.  We moved quickly from this break into entrepreneur training and launching in our first community. The training went well and the women were eager to participate and give feedback on our program. However, after training we found that only a couple of the women we had trained fully engaged in selling chlorine in the community. Many of the entrepreneurs were weary of trying to sell a new product that few people knew about. Clearly, it was time to amp up on marketing. We started by getting aprons and t-shirts printed with our Kouzin Dlo logo and developing flyers about the product. Additionally, we worked with our community partner RAJEPRE to put on a promotional event in Bwa Nef.
 
After our promotion in Bwa Nef, we spent a week training new entrepreneurs. We conducted a second training in Bwa Nef for several women who had approached our manager with interest in selling and started training the first round of entrepreneurs in our second pilot community; Menelas. It was interesting to see the differences between the women from each community. In Menelas, where socioeconomic status is higher, the women were less critical of the product and more willing to invest upfront money in purchasing chlorine that they would later sell. Likewise, more people seem to be willing to try a new water treatment product in Menelas. This contrast between communities is showing us that we need to evaluate how well our model works for communities with different levels of resources. 
I can’t believe how much we have learned in this past month and can’t wait to see what comes up in the next. 

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