Commercialization Toolkit

1.5 Case study: water kiosks in Kenya

Life Force Kiosks (LFK) is a nonprofit organization providing water purification and storage container cleaning services in Kibera, one of the largest slums in Kenya. During the first month of operations, LFK purified 20,000 liters of water. In month three, that number had doubled to about 40,000 liters per month and has continued to grow.

Water kiosk. Photo:Life Force Kiosks.

Water kiosk. Photo: Life Force Kiosks.

The success of LFK was largely enabled by initial market research that led to a thorough understanding of the water treatment market, despite having virtually no budget for market research activities. Before speaking to a single potential customer or spending a penny, LFK was able to obtain a significant amount of useful information by conducting a literature review (secondary research).

Several thorough publications and research studies were available online that gave a lot of information about the existing products in the market, including product strengths and gaps, successful and failed implementation approaches, and recommendations.

Next, LFK went into Kibera and had casual conversations with residents about their water treatment (qualitative consumer surveys). This provided candid feedback about what the real problems were, what people were doing to treat their water, and more. LFK then visited several small and large shops in Kibera and the surrounding areas to see what products were available and at what prices they were being sold (product scan and channel analysis).