Our Solution

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The Power of Soap Solution

The Power of Soap Program is centered around a product called Power Soap. It is a thick, multi-purpose, affordable liquid soap produced and branded by POHK. We partner with local women and empower them to become entrepreneurs by starting their own micro-enterprises to sell Power Soap. Then, with each soap sale to regular clients, sellers conducted a brief face-to-face behavior-change intervention to promote handwashing with soap at the key times that are proven to reduce diarrhea. Our model is based on five years of research and trial projects conducted with the University of Denver. In 2014, a small-scale pilot program was successfully implemented.

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Soap Supply Shop                                                                                                                                                                                                         The Soap Supply Shop is POHK’s in-country revenue-generating business. We produce a product called Power Soap, which is made from locally available ingredients. It is a concentrated, clear, multipurpose liquid soap that can be used for many cleaning activities including handwashing, laundry, washing dishes, pots/pans, floors and toilets. Power soap is sold exclusively to our sellers in bulk at a discounted price. Revenue generated from the supply shop is used to pay local Kiberan staff and cover operating and other expenses. 

Power Soap Micro-Enterprises

The micro-business segment of the project helps local women become entrepreneurs so they can generate an income. The women become the owners and operators of their own micro-businesses and retain 100% of profits earned. Sellers buy Power Soap in bulk from the Supply Shop and then sell it door-to-door. They also sign a partnership agreement with POHK, which outlines each party’s responsibilities.

The Handwashing Intervention

Sellers continue selling soap door-to-door, but with each visit, they conduct the Handwashing Intervention. During a discussion, sellers help clients identify and overcome barriers to change, deliver strategic messages and encourage the adoption of new handwashing behaviors. The intervention was designed from two behavior-change theories and formative focus group research.

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Why our Solution is Innovative

  1. We create income-generating job opportunities that empower women while working within the framework of the community’s unique culture.
  2. Our model targets mothers at the household level. This is a difficult audience to impact because each household must be reached individually.
  3. The handwashing intervention is an individually tailored, on-going program. With each repeat-sale, sellers are uniquely positioned to meet each client at her individual stage of change. Sellers deliver strategic messages designed to address the client’s specific barriers. Sellers encourage clients and their families to adopt handwashing behaviors and over time turn behaviors into long-term, sustained habits.
  4. The handwashing intervention was designed from behavior-change theory and formative research. POHK’s executive director, Kelly Fenson-Hood, designed the intervention. Her area of expertise is in behavior-change communication and she has worked in Kibera for over 6 years.
  5. Our saleswomen are true entrepreneurs. Sellers undergo an intensive sales and business training where they learn about business and sales theory, small business management, customer service, and overcoming barriers. POHK’s Finance and Sales Advisor, Nicole Grable leads the micro-enterprise side of the model. She has 15 years experience in direct sales and has done business consulting for multiple organizations within the development sector.
  6. Our Programs are based on research, with on-going monitoring and evaluation. Faculty and graduate students at the University of Denver serve as our external evaluator.
  7. We are part of the community. POHK was started by Kiberan youth, including Chris Okere, POHK’s Co-Founder. After operating as a community-based organization for six years, several Americans joined the team. In 2013, 501(c)(3) status was established though fiscal sponsorship with Futurity Foundation.

EMPOWER WOMEN     CREATE JOBS     SAVE LIVES