Project Everest

Adopted Experiment

[Adopted Experiment] Problem Definition Female Sanitation Malawi July 2019

This experiment will be conducted in conjunction with "Customer Segment"

Lean Phase: Problem

Question: Are women in urban-rural communities of Malawi prepared to talk about menstruation? What are the challenges they identify? What is their perception of how it affects their ability to learn in and contribute to their community?

Purpose: Empathise with customer segments to define the problem.


·   Women do not have access to affordable and effective products to manage menstruation

·   Menstruation hinders a woman’s social participation and ability to be productive such as missing school and work

·   Women experience a loss of dignity and control when menstruating associated with shame and embarrassment

Time Box: 2 weeks

Success Metric:

% of women/girls who are surveyed answered desired response (see metrics at below) to all 6 specific questions



Green Light: Proceed to validate Unique Value Proposition.

Success point: 60% or more identified with the assumption by answering the desired response.

Orange Light: Assess the interview responses and analyse patterns, reassess assumptions around ‘problem’ and pivot the experiment around this.

Failure Point: Less than 40% identify with the problem, the problem is not articulated/relevant and is not consistent.

Red Light: Assess if any interviews indicate a problem that can be defined. Re-assess customer segment assumptions and experiment. 


Experiment Build:

Experiment Build A)

Conduct surveys with 100 women aged 18+ (Customer Segment 1) to test our three assumed problems

community survey link


- All to rehearse meeting run through and project pitch

- Tasks delegated for during meeting (ie. 3 team members facilitating groups discussion, 1 team member presenting and introducing, 2 team members floating, one team member providing refreshments) 

- kit and logistics check complete (inc. resources required, field guides and transport organised)

- Meet with chief of community prior to community meeting (either in separate meeting or 1 hr prior to community meeting commencement) in order to:

  1. Introduce PEV (if necessary) and Sanitation Project

  2. Thoroughly explain intent and purpose of conducting surveys with the community

  3. Ask permission to conduct survey with the women of their community and ask for their input on ensuring it is conducted with cultural sensitivity

  4. Ask chief to address the women at the beginning of the meeting to explain what we are doing and why, along with the importance of answering honestly and openly 

- Proceed only with permission of the chief 

- It is often greatly appreciated to provide chief with airtel for the phone calls required to organise meeting

- ensure location for meeting is a safe and private environment, that no men will be in attendance and the women will not be overheard


- Chief to address the women when they have assembled at the meeting location to introduce team and project

- One team member and field guide to address community women, covering: 

1) introduction of  PEV, team and sanitation project

2) present problem assumption and explain why we are collecting data 

***ensure expectations are managed, state that we are in the process of assessing the potential for us to make product or service affordable and available, but first have to thoroughly understand experiences of Malawian women****

3) State that team understands this is a private and sensitive topic. Ensure participants understand:

         a) There is no right or wrong answers

         b) They are not obliged to answer any questions if they are not comfortable and can leave at any time

         c) The survey is confidential and can be anonymous if they are not willing to provide their name

- Presenting team member is to frame that there is two options for completing the survey. One will be discussion groups (aimed to target illiterate women without singling them out) in which women can verbally answer questions and discuss their experiences with a team member and field guide. The other option is filling out the survey, with field guides and team members floating to assist where required. 

- Presenting team member is to call all women wanting to join the discussion option to the front to be split into groups of 6-7 women with a field guide and team member to facilitate.

- Presenting team member is to ask all women wanting to fill a survey to raise their hand. 2 team member to hand out surveys and pens as required.  

- One team member to present refreshments throughout survey conduction

- Team members not facilitating group discussions to float and assist where required

- Focus group facilitators to ask questions and record answers by writing notes. This is for qualitative purposes to analyse only, not to be included in survey results

- Surveys to be collected as completed

- Community members to be addressed and thanked


- All, including field guides, to debrief and write down observations through group discussion

- Survey data to be entered into spreadsheets and analysed

- Group discussion data to be analysed and written into report, this is to be cross checked with survey responses for any significant disparities to ensure we are not being ignorant of significant differences between literate and illiterate demographics

- Follow up phone call to chief to thank for organising/facilitating

- Refer to success metric to determine future actions


Experiment Build B)

Conduct surveys with 150 school girls (Customer Segment 2) through external focus groups and facilitators to test our three assumed problems

- Provide focus group facilitator with facilitator brief and printed school survey

- Organise collection of surveys

- Ask facilitator for any further observations or insights from the focus group

- Enter and analyse data

- Refer to success metric to determine future actions

Success Metric Questions:  

Assumption 1: Women do not have access to affordable and effective products to manage menstruation


Desired Response

Q42. What prevents you from using these alternative materials?



Q43. What problems do you experience with this material?

A negative response



Assumption 2: Menstruation hinders a woman’s social participation and ability to be productive such as missing school and work


Desired Response

Q28. Does your period stop you being productive?


Q21.How long does it take to wash material Q22. How many times a day

More than 30 minutes



Assumption 3: Women experience a loss of dignity and control when menstruating associated with shame and embarrassment


Desired Response

Q13. How did you feel when you got your most recent period

Negative emotions

Q29. How do you feel when your period stops you from being productive

Negative emotions




edited on 9th July 2019, 08:07 by Jemima Crawford

Andrew Vild 8 months ago

Status label added: Experiment adopted

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