A Sales Manager’s Mission to Push Development in Nepal


Photo Courtesy of Astha Prajapati’s Facebook Account

Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

Ashta Prajapati would have never thought that he would make a career out selling latrines 10 years ago, but now Prajapati cannot see himself doing anything else.

“Selling these latrines is definitely a motivating factor,” said Prajapati, who spoke to Pace students in the Lienhard Lecture Hall Nov. 9. “It is a good feeling being able to help out these people when I do this.”

Currently operating in Nepal, Prajapati works as a sales manager  for iDE—an organization enabling people though market based approaches in agriculture, water, sanitation, health and finance.

Prajapati specializes in selling latrines, which are sanitary outhouses or toilets, to underdeveloped areas in Nepal, has been a problem in the country.

Sixty-two percent of the population has access to basic sanitation facilities, according to Parjapati, and 80 percent of all diseases in Nepal are related to water and sanitation causes.

When these people are without a latrine, they are forced to defecate in the villages.

“In addition to the health and environmental problems,” Prajapati said. “The villages get so dirty and it’s a flood prone area, so once it floods it [feces] goes everywhere.”

Theses were problems that were all too familiar to Prajapati when he was growing up in Nepal.

“In the surrounding villages growing up, there were a number of houses that did not have a latrine,” Prajapati said. “The villages were so dirty and there where old people walking five or ten minutes to use the bathrooms. It made me very sad.”

Even though Prajapati had a firsthand account of what was happening in Nepal, helping to solve this problem was not his initial vocation.

“I initially started working for FedEx,” Prajapati said. “I studied masses in management. I thought that I would build my career in the private sectors.”

Prajapati spent the next seven years working for FedEx holding a prominent job. However, he did not see FedEx as his dream job.

“I really found that I was not comfortable there,” Prajapati said. “It just was not my cup of tea.”

Through the help of a paper ad, Prajapati found a job for iDE where he would be a sales manager, specializing in selling latrines in Nepal.

This was a perfect job for him, as it blended his love for management and for helping to develop communities.

The details of Prajapti’s job includes designing the latrines and once they are approved he presents them to enterprises to be sold.

“When I achieved the sales target for FedEx, I was helping make money for someone else,” Prajapati said. “Now when I sell a latrine, I am helping four or five other people.”

The goal for Prajapati is to sell 100,000 latrines by 2017. If that is achieved, more than 600,000 people will have access to a latrine.