Celebrated Media Personality Julie Gichuru and soft-spoken Kiswahili anchor Lulu Hassan have been unveiled as the ambassadors of BE A HERO campaign, an initiative by leading antiseptics brand, Dettol and Not for Profit Organization Save The Children aimed at raising the sanitation standards of children in Kenya’s arid and semi regions.
To begin the program, the partners have joined efforts with Turkana County Government to install water pumping and sanitation facilities in schools and communal centres in Turkana County, identified as one of the regions with the highest under five mortality rates, related to low access to health and hygiene facilities.
Speaking during the launch in Nairobi Reckitt Benckiser’s Country Manager Mr Richard Pereira said that “Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) suffer up to 26% higher under-five mortality rates as compared to urban and rural areas. This is partly caused by low access to water and sanitation facilities, which means that the hygiene programs we come up with, have no real impact in these regions”.
We are rolling out a multi-million program that will start with investing up to Ksh5 million towards improving sanitation in Turkana County. This budget will go towards construction of water pipes, pumps, hand washing stands and water catchment tanks that will enhance water access to the communities in Turkana.” Noted Mr. Pereira.
Turkana County Woman representative, Honourable Joyce Emanikor lauded the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships in form of public private partnerships that are aimed at developing counties.
As a county, we recognize the importance of public private partnerships, as these are the key avenues through which we are able to open up our regions for investment and growth. The new program that we are launching today will play a key role in ensuring that we reduce the high mortality rates in Turkana, caused by poor hygiene and unsafe drinking water.” Said Hon. Emanikor.
And further added: I have embarked on a mission to come up with laws that will enhance the policy and legislative framework of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and concessions. This will overcome the barrier to investment and further economic development for Turkana County, part caused by limitations in the public budget, while optimizing on the private sector resources as well as technical know-how.
Speaking on the brand’s hygiene promotion programs, Reckitt Benckiser’s Country Manager Mr Richard Pereira noted that the company will continue to raise the hand washing agenda by channelling two shillings from every sales proceeds of Dettol soap and liquid hand wash, towards installation of the sanitation facilities and driving of hand hygiene promotions in Turkana.
“Through the years, we have implemented school programs focused on teaching children when and how to wash their hands with soap and water. I am glad to note that we have managed to reach up to 1,000,000 children through our schools program. I believe it is now time to focus our efforts on a more critical agenda which involves increasing access to water and sanitation facilities in regions that need them most”. Noted Mr. Pereira.
Save the Children, a key partner in this campaign, will be responsible for installation of the sanitation facilities.