Provide access to affordable, quality products and services for rural Zambians.


Devise solutions to the problem of customer payment default, in order to improve VITALITE’s scalability.

Research Activities

To evaluate the effectiveness of VITALITE’s agent trainings and its impact on customer PAYGO (pay-as-you-go) payments, we observed 4 new agent trainings, 1 follow-up training, and 1 sales and service representative training throughout Zambia. In the field, we interviewed 75 prospective and experienced sales agents to gauge their level of comprehension relative to post-training test results. This indicated the need for VITALITE to shift its training curriculum to enhance knowledge retention for improved sales and reliable payments.

Key Findings:

  1. Agents Need a Clear Presentation of their Opportunities. Some agents do not understand their role in a partnership with VITALITE, resulting in agents who are unable to fulfill VITALITE’s expectations. They also perform poorly because they do not understand the value created for themselves and their community.
  2. Phased Trainings Enhance Learning. VITALITE’s prior trainings, though informative, provide too much information for agents to remember. This resulted in poor communication to customers, ultimately decreasing distribution and impeding reliable customer payments.
  3. Multiple Factors Have Led to Payment Default. Our research indicates that customers are defaulting on their payments due to several variables. This makes it difficult to assign responsibility or identify areas for improvement. Describing these variables regarding agent quality and customer reliability will improve scalability.



Social Enterprise:



Andrew Descourouez

Enviornmental Studies & Philosophy

James Wang

Eletrical Engineering & Enviornmental Science

Faculty Research Mentors:

Stephanie Hughes, Environmental Studies and Sciences


New Training Curriculum for Professional Development. Restructuring VITALITE’s training curriculum into an ongoing educational model will lead to better information retention by sales agents. We created a new series of training modules, suggested incentive mechanisms, and outlined required investments that will provide the foundation for this new curriculum.

Sales Channel Optimization Strategy. Critically evaluate VITALITE’s sales and distribution channel, analyzing each component of the last-mile distribution cycle in relation to VITALITE and its process. This will enable the executive team to identify opportunities for both improvement in their sales channel and company growth.