Kouzin Dlo

Kouzin Dlo: Clean water for Haitians by Haitians

Port-au-Prince, HaitiPort-au-Prince, Haiti
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Clean water in Haiti simply costs too much. Kouzin Dlo is creating a sustainable and locally rooted distribution system for affordable, easy to use water purification products. As we reach thousands of households across Haiti with clean water, we create jobs and livelihoods in low-income communities

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if every household in Haiti had access to affordable clean water?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Haiti, cholera has killed over 9,041 and infected over 751,419 since 2010. In 2015, there has been a 147% increase in cases. Even before cholera, diarrhea cased 20% of deaths of children under five. Only 62% of Haitians have access to improved water sources, many of which are known to be contaminated with fecal matter. When there is access, clean water is a luxury given one day of water can cost more 25% of the average daily income.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Kouzin Dlo address the lack of affordable clean water in Haiti by bringing chlorine, a low-cost and effective water treatment product, to communities that traditional businesses often ignore. We recruit and train female Sales Agents who work in their own communities. These micro-entrepreneurs directly relate to the problems prospective customers face. Our distribution model has three major effects on our communities: a marked decrease in the cost of clean water, a decrease in diarrheal disease rates, including cholera, and an increase in economic opportunities for women. Our growing customer base represents an increasing number of urban households that have access to affordable water treatment.

Awards

D-Prize, Diehl Family Social Enterprise Competition (FSU), Resolution Project, Semi-finalist for the Global Social Benefit Institute Online cohort 2016
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Kouzin Dlo is more than a business for the women who work with us. Carline, one of our first employees, was hired a month after her niece was born. Bottle Fed newborns are especially at risk from diarrhea. Carline’s family didn’t trust our product, but she went out on a limb to prove to family and friends it worked and wasn’t harmful by making formula for her. Now her niece is over a year old, healthy, walking and talking. Carline uses this story to convince other mothers they can use the product for their families and this has inspired our Sales Agents to consider integrating their own experience with the product into their sales to boosts customer confidence in a marketplace with many shams and little regulation.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Since launching in June, 2014, Kouzin Dlo has sold 3,286 bottles of chlorine resulting in 657,200 gallons of clean water with client savings of $57,809. Kouzin Dlo has trained 110 sales agents in 9 communities and generated $1,614 of supplemental income through micro-enterprises. Kouzin Dlo also employs 5 part-time Sales Team Coordinators, earning 4 times Haiti’s average daily income. In addition, our 2 Executive Staff members earn 12 times the average daily income. These women have gained access to income as partners in a business and leaders in their communities. Kouzin Dlo trains each staff member in water treatment, waterborne disease education, product commercialization and sales communication. This training educates our staff in a country with few opportunities while laying the foundation for business expansion countrywide.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In the next five years, Kouzin Dlo will expand to 145 communities with 1,337,450 months of clean water. We will train 1,475 Sales Agents across the 10 departments of Haiti. As our network of Sales Agents grows, we will add to our staff of Sales Team Coordinators to oversee these agents. By the end of 2019, we will employ 18 Sales Team Coordinators and 10 Regional Managers. As we grow, we develop leaders at all levels of the business that will represent Kouzin Dlo with pride. Beyond being cashflow positive by 2019, Kouzin Dlo will be an example of sustainable change that empowers communities.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Kouzin Dlo has been revenue generating since launching in June 2014. With $700,000 investment over the next three years, Kouzin Dlo can expand to all 10 regions of Haiti with over 220 teams selling 57,000 bottles of chlorine across Haiti annually and reach profitability. This will allow the business to continue to expand on its own revenue, create job opportunities and provide an affordable clean water to this country of 10 million people.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Kouzin Dlo customers has two other options: purchase one day worth water for their family for $0.50 at a local kiosk, or wait for a NGO to handout a free product. With an average income of less than $2 a day, water from kiosks is a major luxury for most. Kouzin Dlo allows customers to purify available water sources to provide an entire month of clean water for only $1. While NGOS may hand out chlorine, they only do so sporadically. Other chlorine products are not widely distributed. Customers report Kouzin Dlo treated water is better-tasting than water treated with other chlorine products.
Team

Founding Story

Kouzin Dlo is the product of an Ideation Lab, a three day, hackathon inspired event held by the Archimedes Project. They brought together participants from diverse professions with seasoned experts in Haiti to design a scalable business to combat the spread of cholera in Haiti. From that event, Jessica came on board to make the idea that emerged a reality. In the process of pitching the idea to potential funders and partners on the ground, the novelty of the idea became apparent. Daily our appreciation grows for the innovative way we bring existing technology, a proven business model and local actors, to overcome distribution barriers and behavior change.

Team

Jessica Laporte, Kouzin Dlo’s Co-Founder and full-time in-country Director, is dedicated to empowering the Haitian People. She has utilized strong leadership, communication and language skills to recruit, train and develop a robust Haitian leadership. Her organizational skills are invaluable to manage staff in multiple communities, while refining the supply chain and expanding our reach through partnerships. The process of iteration has brought out her creativity, as she works with her staff to implement efficient systems. Jessica came into this business with a BA in International Relations from Tufts University. Beverly Pierre is our Port-au-Prince Regional Manager. She completed her Bachelors in Business Administration from L’Ecole Superieur D’Infrotronique D’Haiti and is pursuing her Master’s degree. Her studies at ESIH put her at the top of her field in both theoretical and practical skills for business management and strategy. As a scholarship recipient from USAID’s program HELP, she gained experience in project management, recruitment and human resources. Alongside Jessica, Beverly contributes to both the big picture and daily operations of the business. The Regional Manager is responsible oversight of the Port-au-Prince region, including managing coordinators, recruiting new staff and maintaining the regional supply chain. As Kouzin Dlo expands, new Regional Managers will be hired for each department in Haiti with similar dedication, interests, education level and skills. Kouzin Dlo employs five part-time employees, one Program Assistant and four Sales Team Coordinators. Our Program Assistant is responsible for supporting the Regional Manager with administrative tasks, program documentation and data collection as well as training new staff. Sales Team Coordinators are responsible for training and managing up to five different sales teams, with up to ten Sales Agents each. Jessica also receives guidance from a diverse group of advisors. First as a enterprise of The Archimedes Project she benefits from their counsel on all major business decisions. As a Resolution Project Fellow, Jessica has two guides dedicated to supporting her as an entrepreneur and connecting her to additional resources in the program. Lastly, Jessica has developed a 4 person Advisory Board that is involved in the review and development of communications and internal documents for Kouzin Dlo.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Through the Archimedes Project

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Clean Water and Sanitation, Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Throughout my academic career I sought to compliment classroom learning with workplace experience through internships and volunteering. I held positions from communications and development to an organic farming apprentice. At Tufts I served as a leader in both the Christian Fellowship and Mountain Club, both large organizations with over six programs a week. By combining these activities I was able to gain experience in group management, communications, strategic planning, and program development. For example, I took a volunteer program from an idea to group that organized monthly outings with local high school students. By and far the deepest experience I have gained is through Kouzin Dlo itself. I learn something new and have to adapt to my surroundings everyday. Most importantly I see my work with Kouzin Dlo shaping how I see the landscape in Haiti, from a sea of poverty to endless opportunities for social business to rejunivate the local economy.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

Kouzin Dlo has forged strong bonds with organizations across the country, small-scale local organizations to large scale multi-national organizations. We will continue to build on these relationships and build new partnerships in preparation for expansion outside of Port-au-Prince. In order to make our operations more efficient we run our office from Haiti Communitere, this has also proved to be a strong network of both local and international actors committed to sustainable change in Haiti.