In this interview leading to World Toilet Day on November 19, Isabel Medem talks about her work in hygienic sanitation in Lima, Peru. X-Runner Venture is a social enterprise that brings toilets to the residents of informal housing.
Lima is the second driest capitals on earth. In the informal housing, many people resort to pit latrines which spread disease. Because the pit latrines are dug near the houses, they can cause the ground on which the houses are built to become unstable. Some people try to delay using the pit latrines, which can cause further health problems.
After university, Isabel worked in microfinance in Africa. Later, when living in Berlin, she met her cofounder, Jessica Altenburger, who was working on hygienic sanitation. Eventually they moved to Lima where, today, their toilets are in about 400 households.
In this episode of Social Entrepreneurs, Isabel compares the running of a social venture to the care and feeding of a child.
In this episode of the Social Entrepreneur podcast, we discuss:
- The dangers of pit latrines.
- How Isabel met Jessie, her co-founder.
- How, together they designed a solution.
- How they introduced the solution to the residents of the urban slum near Lima.
- The holistic system that X-Runner Venture has created.
- The challenges of running a social enterprise.
- The importance of scaling the enterprise.
- The metrics they use to measure their success.
- Their creative use of mobile technology.
- The rewards of social entrepreneurship.
- Advice for new Social Entrepreneurs.