Our prepaid business model helps us to embark on several more innovations. We presently have the following ideas or are even working on it:
– A future without water rationing: Many water companies in Kenya frequently ration water due to limited amounts of production water. Water rationing is especially rampant in the dry seasons. With prepaid meters this can be avoided altogether. Instead of disconnecting neighborhoods for X hours/days, we will give the option of providing a maximum amount of water per user per day. People will then always have access to water, only the capacity per day will be limited. This will urge users also not to spill water, like currently is still common whenever the water comes.
– Mobile Payment: Topping up of water credits is presently being done with a master token in designated shops or at the waterpoints itself. This requires the involvement of a person with a master token, who first needs to top up the master token before credits can be sold. In cooperation with our main supplier for communal prepaid water meters (Susteq), we now want to develop the option of paying by mobile money. Credits will then not be stored on tokens, but at water points. The tokens will then only function as an identification.
– Chlorine dispensers allow families to add a drop of chlorine to every jerrycan of water. This will make transport and water storage safe. Safe water at the ‘Point-of-Use’ is particularly important for families with young children. In collaboration with Evidence Action chlorine dispensers are actually already placed at 11 prepaid water kiosks in Busia. We now want to discus a wider partnership.
– Prepaid irrigation. Food security is an important issue in Kenya. One of the main barriers for small farmers is lack of irrigation. Individual farmers mostly don’t have the money to invest in irrigation. Developing and managing communal irrigation schemes is often very difficult. This may change by introducing prepaid irrigation metering. Prepaid irrigation has become a major success in Bangladesh and Maji Milele wants to see if that success can be adopted in Kenya. To that end we partnered with SNV and an external market research company did a feasibility study. The results of the study are promising and we expect to do a first pilot project in 2016. We will use financing from the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund for this new venture.
– ‘Airmiles’ for hygiene and sanitation. We already have the data of daily water usage per user. We now want to introduce ‘water saving points’ that can be swapped for essential hygiene and sanitation products. This will stimulate demand for water (more water = more hygiene) and it will enable people to make a next step: hygiene and sanitation. With saving points people can get access to free products like soap, reusable sanitary pads or get discounts on more expensive products like toilets. We will involve suppliers of goods for which we can make advertisement on the payment tokens/tags.
– Prepaid toilets. In densely populated areas shared toilets are common. However, these toilets close at night and need continuous attendance, leading to high operational costs. The NGO Sanergy, that works with micro-entrepreneurs that rent out toilets to people in the neighborhood, also sees this problem. With prepaid toilets, these disadvantages can be solved.
If you are interested to partner with us on any of the above ideas, please contact us.