Zhong Yanxiong, a Chinese national, has taken it upon himself to help address the increasing risk of untreated water in Nairobi.
The 34-year-old was intrigued by the dirty water situation in Africa while working in several parts of the continent. Zhong took it upon himself to ease the situation by establishing a water cleaning startup in Nairobi.
iClear Wellife Service Limited was born to help Kenyans acquire water purifiers at affordable prices. Zhong, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the startup, has adopted the name “Otieno” to easily interact with the locals.
“Reverse Osmosis purifiers sold in the market cost up to Ksh50,000 to Ksh80,000 per piece and customers should keep buying filters every half year. Leasing them, however, could cut down the cost incurred in treating contaminated water,” Zhong noted.
With the help of the startup, Kenyans will now be able to lease the purifiers and pay Ksh10,000 annually plus an installation fee of Ksh2,000.
Additionally, clients will also enjoy door-to-door after-sales service twice a year for free, including filter replacement, water system pipe disinfection, and equipment maintenance.
Kenya has been chosen for the pilot testing of the reverse osmosis technology for water treatment. The technology will be introduced to other parts of the continent gradually.
Zhong had crisscrossed the continent for six years and during this time, he noted that the water sourced from boreholes was full of unfiltered minerals like fluoride.
Owing to this finding, he looked for a cost-effective and locally appropriate technology for treating water and minimizing incidents of fluorosis (which causes teeth discoloration) and water-borne diseases.
According to reports from iClear, 200 households have successfully adopted the reverse osmosis water purification. Low-income households are encouraged to get the purifiers and pay in installments.
“Our workforce on the ground is specializing in densely populated working-class areas of Nairobi to market the water purifiers, with hopes of reaching one million households in due time,” Zhong stated.
Under the Sustainable Development Goal, Kenya has committed to achieving by 2030 universal and equitable access to safe and affordable water for all. Adequate water will improve hygiene and sanitation and reduce the number of water-borne diseases in the country.