Our Culture

Safe Sanitation in Slums

Improving Health in a Developing World

I worked on two projects both focused on access to safe sanitation in slums as a Research Fellow in Nairobi, Kenya for The Aquaya Institute from May through September 2019. The Aquaya Institute is a nonprofit research and consulting organization dedicated to improving health in the developing world. In research, the organization develops and evaluates technologies, policies, and programs for increasing safe water and sanitation access, collaborating with academic teams, and publishing results in peer-reviewed journals. In consulting, Aquaya translates proven scientific and technical innovations into local impact by partnering with public and private institutions that are committed to providing safe water and sanitation.

My first project aimed to assess the gap between willingness-to-pay and cost to provide safe sanitation services in five cities across Kenya, Ghana, and Bangladesh. We evaluated the gap on a micro level through household voucher trials, and at a macro level by modelling city-wide sanitation demand against infrastructural capacity.

My second project evaluated the effectiveness of different management models for sanitation services in Kisumu, Kenya. We compared three different models of service provision, and evaluated service providers based on pricing competitiveness, volume of jobs completed, and customer satisfaction.

Both projects engaged government stakeholders and local NGOs to pave the path for effective policy interventions that would improve the lives of people in these communities, and the research to be published will help governments determine how best to efficiently allocate funding to address sanitation issues. Over roughly 4 months, the studies also helped more than 200 low-income households receive sanitation services and resulted in over one million liters of sludge removed from slums.

Oliver Wyman’s Nonprofit Fellowship program was a great opportunity for me to take a step back from consulting and apply the skills that I’ve developed as a consultant in a completely different context. I was able to immerse myself in the development world and experience first-hand the rewards and challenges of working in the space.

The fellowship gave me an excellent perspective, as well as the opportunity to work with local businesses and entrepreneurs and seeing the drive and hustle that make them successful. It also enabled me to engage with families in low-income areas who were always welcoming and kind regardless of their own circumstances. It was a pleasure to be frequently interacting with other NGOs, governments, and academic partners who never hesitated to help me in any way that they could.

My NPF was an unforgettable adventure that enabled me to develop personally and professionally, all while immersing myself in the unique culture and way of life of a different country.