In 2015, SweetSense Inc., a spin-off of the SweetLab, joined as a founding partner a 35 million dollar USAID and SDC funded program led by the Millennium Water Alliance. Over five years (2015-2020), the Kenya RAPID program focuses on five Northern Counties with high poverty rates, chronic food and water insecurity and low access to basic services: Marsabit, Garissa, Isiolo, Wajir, and Turkana. It seeks to increase the average water coverage rate in the five counties from 37% to more than 50%. The program is designed, however, to create a model that can be replicated by other counties with local adaptation. There are three strategic objectives (SOs) that will guide the program:

SO 1: A responsive and accountable governance framework is in place and operational at county government level that ensures sustainable provision of water and pasture;

SO 2: Replicable and scalable business models for sustainable WASH and livestock service delivery have been developed and operationalized; and

SO 3: Communities have increased access to sustainable WASH services and improved rangeland management.

SweetSense’s role includes working across these  five counties in north Kenya to deploy instruments on hand and electric water pumps, water tanks, and water distribution systems to measure rates of utilization and functionality. These measures will be inputted to decision aids that may dispatch technicians, supplies or other response. This task primarily is operationally focused, and consists of iterating feedback and decision support systems to enable effective water service delivery.

The Kenya national average access to improved water sources is 48% in rural areas. In the region of Kenya targeted for this activity, the average is closer to 27%. This baseline provides one of the first opportunities to institutionalize accountable, cost-effective feedback mechanisms in delivering water services. Key outcomes in this program include a responsible and accountable government framework for water services; replicable and scalable business models to deliver these services; and community engagement in demanding water services.

Government – County Ministries of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Health and Education of Isiolo, Garissa, Marsabit, Turkana and Wajir – National Ministries of Water, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Health and Education

Development partners – CARE – Catholic Relief Services – Food for the Hungry – World Vision

Private sector partners – Acacia – Aqua for All – IBM Research – SweetSense Inc – The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation – Vitol Foundation

Donors – Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) – United States Agency for International Development (USAID)


Sanergy is a Kenya-based social enterprise sanitation provider looking to leverage mobile technology towards improving access to sanitation for underserved communities. Their mission is to make hygienic sanitation affordable and accessible for everyone in urban informal settlements. Over the last three years, Sanergy has developed an innovative systems-based approach to build out the entire sanitation value chain. Sanergy builds sanitation facilities, franchise them to entrepreneurs, who run them as small businesses, collect the waste, remove it from the community and convert it to useful by-products, including organic fertilizer.

The SweetLab, with SweetSense Inc., has partnered with Sanergy to design and deploy cellular enabled data collection system for the Sanergy Fresh Life Toilet franchise network’ in Mukuru, Nairobi, with the aim of improving the efficiency of their Waste Collection Teams and ensuring greater access to sanitation facilities for users. The GSM technology is integrated directly into the Sanergy solid waste receptacles and the data used in the sanitation value chain. The SweetSense platform monitors the following parameters – a.) Each use of the latrine, b.) the approximate fill level of the waste receptacle, c.) The GPS location of the latrine. Via GSM, the system notifies an online dashboard when a waste receptacle requires servicing. The online dashboard allows manual and automatic notification of the appropriate technician.