Checking in with our epA 2019 winners – a blog series: WASHKing
In this 11-part blog series, we will be checking in with our empowering people. Award (epA) 2019 winners to see what they’ve been up to since our most recent award ceremony in Cairo last July. Check out what’s new with WASHKing!
Below is an interview with Dieudonne Kwame Agudah, CEO of WASHKing.
For us it is about increasing access to high quality sanitation facilities at an affordable price in order to end open defecation and improve poor sanitation situations in communities of our work. The goal, therefore, is to achieve enhanced impacts of improved access to clean water and sanitation, good health and well being, and decent work and economic development in low-income, under-served urban communities in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana at large, and the continent of Africa. The main target groups are under-served and low-income urban households and institutions with poor or no access to good toilets. There is a challenge. According to UNICEF, 62 percent of Africans lack access to adequate sanitation, and in 2017, only 15 percent of Ghanaians had access to improved sanitation with close to 4.8 million practicing open defecation leading to deep public health and environmental issues. Even more serious, UNICEF Ghana reveals that the country records 4,000 annual diarrhea death cases. Economically, the World Bank estimated in 2012 that beside loss of families’ productive economic hours, Ghana’s economy loses US$290 million each year due to poor sanitation. The problem equally brings environmental pollution, risks of sexual assault, missed schooling and poverty. We want to help to positively change that narrative.
We have had the opportunity to be part of entrepreneurship mentorship program which exposed us to talented mentors, business tools and skills relevant for taking our enterprise to the next level. Every now and then we attract more audience from sector players including local assembly authorities. More so, another area we have had a significant change in is improved research and development in our work. Winning the prize money has really helped us invest more into research and development which has supported us in developing important, innovative pay-as-you-go technology which does not only put us ahead of others but also help us serve our target groups more for better impact.
Another significant achievement since then is our breakthrough with smart lock technology to further enhance affordability and unlock uninterrupted access to good sanitation. Also, we went on to win access to participate in both international and local entrepreneurship training and mentorship programs, like the enpact mentorship program.
(3) improving design of our toilet technology to significantly enhance adoption by, and supply to, under-served and low-income communities; and (4) development of improved sustainable partnerships with companies having interest in the promotion of good sanitation so we can build more toilets.
We have future plans for the next 10 years aimed at sustainable expansion and growth to make more sustainable impact. This includes the following:
- Setting up an effective supply chain;
- Regional and international expansion (i.e., Sierra Leone and Nigeria), and;
- Develop a strong base of key: employees, partners and customers to, for example, improve impact:
- Build >40,000 toilets
- Create >320,000 job opportunities
- Improve health and productivity of >400,000 under-served and low-income people
- Train >1,000 Master Sanitation Artisan Apprentices
- Support >500 Apprentice Sanipreneurs
- Increase assets and investments (i.e. ICT and improved R&D) to support development of services to better sell, track, optimize and get regular feedback to well serve low-income people.
Siemens Stiftung: A big thank you, Dieudonne and team, for sharing what you are currently work on at WASHKing. We look forward to seeing your plans come to life and wish you well with your enpact mentorship program!