Brad at work in western Kenya

 


Programs - Career
Tuck GIVES Internship:

Brad Lang T’09
Aquaya Institute
Kenya

The Aquaya Institute is a San Francisco-based, nonprofit research and consulting organization that promotes innovations for preventing diarrheal disease through technology development, product distribution, and impact evaluation.

Safe drinking water is taken for granted by most of the developed world. However, according to the UN, over 4.8 billion people lack access to safe drinking water. Point of use (POU) water treatment is one possible solution to providing safe water access to all. Previous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of POU treatment in providing safe drinking water, but there is little research into what influences the purchase decision and long-term adoption of these technologies by consumers. By learning more about consumer preferences and behavior Aquaya can influence how safe water and safe water products are marketed and distributed around the world.

In western Kenya, Aquaya has partnered with CARE and the University of California - Berkeley to survey 400 rural households to determine preferences with respect to three treatment options: dilute hypochlorite solution (branded as WaterGuard), Procter and Gamble’s PUR® Purifier of Water flocculant-disinfectant powder, and porous ceramic filtration. The survey is designed to determine initial consumer preferences, what marketing messages and product characteristics lead to sustained use of products, and how consumer preferences and willingness to pay change after consumers experience each of the safe water products.

Acting as Aquaya’s project manager in the field, I was responsible for launching and refining the survey instrument, experimental design, and marketing materials, harmonizing the interests of CARE Kenya, UC-Berkeley, and Aquaya, and overseeing enumeration, analysis of water quality samples, and maintenance of quality control in data collection. I gained a deeper understanding of the difficulties of and opportunities for providing safe water to people around the world. Advocating the merits of a private sector approach to aid-minded colleagues at CARE was both a rewarding and challenging experience.