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Unilever partners with Amref Health Africa in cholera fight

Directly reach over 6,000 school going children, over 100 households and 400 adults

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Unilever East Africa has joined forces with Amref Health Africa to boost the fight against cholera in Kenya. The leading consumer goods manufacturer will support Amref Health Africa, through its Geisha Germiguard and Pureit brands, in response efforts in Nairobi, Kibera slums where the outbreak hit hardest.

The cholera response will be the first activity under a one-year extendable partnership signed by the two parties to help bolster health awareness across the country. Unilever East Africa will help Amref in its efforts to achieve lasting health change in Africa through various activities including training. Since December 26, 2014, cholera has affected 16 counties: Nairobi, Migori, Homa Bay, Bomet, Mombasa, Nakuru, Muranga, Kirinyaga, Baringo, Kiambu, Embu, Machakos, Narok, Kilifi, Trans Nzoia and Turkana. Out of these, 14 still have active outbreaks.

Under the partnership Unilever will help train teachers and community health volunteers in the communities and schools hardest hit in the first instance, besides providing Geisha Germiguard soap and Pureit water purifiers as a way of promoting healthy living and hygiene. 

Over 10,000 pieces of Geisha Germiguard soap will be donated and used to advocate hand washing as a key preventive measure for cholera and other communicable diseases, while Pureit devices will provide clean and safe drinking water. Unilever employees will also give their time by joining Amref Health Africa staff on the ground to demonstrate and encourage proper hand washing behaviour in communities.

Speaking during signing of the MoU Unilever CEO Marc Engel said the partnership will help Unilever achieve its goals under the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. The areas of collaboration include maternal health, nutrition, research and advocacy and water and sanitation, which are relevant for the cholera response.

Unilever has over the last several years implemented a partnerships strategy through its brands and the Unilever Foundation, with a focus on improving the quality of life through the provision of hygiene, sanitation, basic nutrition and access to clean drinking water, as well as by enhancing self-esteem.

“The organisation is building on its success by establishing partnerships across the entire value chain in addition to its historic focus on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), investing in livelihoods, sustainable sourcing and women’s empowerment,” Engel said.

Amref Health Africa CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi said that the contribution from Unilever would greatly enhance efforts in tackling the cholera outbreak, which as at June 30, 2015 b,,, hence the need for urgent interventions. “It is important to reduce the risk of further outbreaks through early detection of cases and improving hygiene behaviour at community level.

Amref Health Africa will continue to work with the Government and partners like Unilever to find sustainable ways of preventing such outbreaks and managing them when they do happen,” said Dr Gitahi.

Ends…

About Unilever Kenya

Unilever Kenya is one of the leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products across East Africa. With about 19,000 employees, Unilever is one of the largest private employers in Kenya. Working to create a better future every day, Unilever helps people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Its portfolio includes Kenya’s best loved locally produced brands, OMO, Sunlight, Blue Band, Royco, Geisha and Vaseline, as well as key world’s renowned brands, like Knorr, Dove, Lux, Axe, among many others.

The company was ranked Top Employer for 2015 in Kenya by the Top Employer Institute, an international certification institute. In 2013, Unilever was recognized as a leading employer in Kenya by the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM) scooping six out of the ten IHRM awards. Unilever tea in Kenya was the first company worldwide to achieve Rain Forest Alliance Certified, in 2007, Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) farm standards. Since then it has continued to achieve this certification.

Unilever’s global ambition is to double the size of its business, whilst reducing the overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing the positive social impact. Unilever is committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all its agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling its growth from its environmental impact. Supporting its three big goals, Unilever has defined seven pillars, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com

Barry Dijoe External and Media Relations Manager

031 570 247 or 072 633 7248
Barry.Dijoe@unilever.com

Burson Marsteller: Associate Director

011 480 8555
nkateko.khosa@bm-africa.com

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