NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 14 – Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB) is advancing Sh70 million towards providing Kenyan households with access to clean water as the first line of defense against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The funds will be provided to Water.org which will enable affordable financing for water and sanitation solutions to about 10,000 households in Kenya’s informal settlements and rural areas.
Speaking in Nairobi during a roundtable meeting which coincided with the Global Handwashing Day, RB Country Manager Ibrahim Kabir, pointed out that hand hygiene is now more critical, not only to combat COVID-19, but to prevent and reduce a range of other infections such as diarrhea, colds, and gastrointestinal illness, according to Unicef.
“The grant we are providing today will greatly benefit communities which urgently and desperately need access to water financing, for the past 15 years Dettol has been at the forefront of promoting proper handwashing techniques and this has become even more important now with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic which is spread through person to person contact,” he said.
Working in partnership with Kenya Women Microfinance bank, the water credit scheme will provide households and communities with affordable small loans as a sustainable, efficient, and scalable tool to help people living in poverty get access to safe water and sanitation.
With a population of about 50 million, 40 percent of Kenyans still rely on unimproved water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells, and rivers, while 70 percent of Kenyans use unimproved sanitation solutions, according to water.org . These challenges are especially evident in rural areas and urban slums.
“This grant from RB will go a long way in providing Kenyan households with affordable micro-loans for water connections, water storage facilities like tanks, and constructing toilets; making a giant leap in enhancing access to clean water and sanitation,” said Francis Musinguzi, regional director for Africa at water.org.
The funds were drawn from RB’s savings from travel and sales expenses after the Kenyan government instituted Virus-control measures such as lockdowns, cessation of movement, and curfews which greatly limited travel.