Roto Tanks, Ogilvy partner to fight malnutrition among kids aged below two

Roto Tanks, Ogilvy partner to fight malnutrition among kids aged below two

Roto Tanks and Ogilvy Africa have inked a deal that will see young mothers educated in rural parts of East Africa on how to combat malnutrition in children in the first 24 months of their development.

The project dubbed ‘Lesso Lessons’ aims to use traditionally patterned fabric garments known as ‘lessos’ to educate young Kenyan mothers in rural areas on proper postnatal nutritional care.

‘Lesso Lessons’ is an initiative that makes use of creative and design thinking to tackle this seemingly ever-present issue in a way that seamlessly fits into Kenyan women’s lives.

Along with input from healthcare professionals, the team adapted over one million data points from some of the most recent studies on postnatal nutrition during the design process to make the utility relevant to our region.

 “While staying true to the traditional beauty of a lesso, we turned the postnatal nutritional textbook into a desirable and functional garment that will hopefully continue teaching for generations to come,” said Yash Deb the Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy Africa.

As the first 24 months are the most pivotal in a child’s nutrition and development, the team created three different Lesso Lessons, each one tackling one of three key development periods which are zero to six months, six to 12 months and 12 to 24 months.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has identified malnutrition as the number one cause of death in children under five.

In Kenya, over 26 percent of children under five years of age, that’s one in four children, face malnutrition issues, resulting in long-term developmental problems, as well as stunted physical growth and immunity problems.

This has been attributed to young mothers not knowing proper breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.

While East and Sub-Saharan Africa has made impressive health and safety strides in recent years, there are still basic and systemic issues that public service announcements via traditional media simply cannot address.

Heril Bangera, President of Roto Tanks said, “More and more, we’re starting to see how the adage of it taking ‘a village to raise a child’ is becoming more and more poignant. This initiative shows that a simple effort from a wide group, could have an effect for many generations to come.”

Through the Lesso Lessons project, the two organizations aim to distribute over one million lessos in parts of Central, Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley, Coast, Western, Nyanza and Nairobi regions.

“Lesso Lessons uses tradition as a means to bring about positive change. It’s an attempt to weave nutritional guidance into a lesso, which is already woven into the cultural fabric of our societies in Africa. We are delighted to partner with Roto in bringing this to life in Kenya, and hope to see this initiative benefit more countries in the future,” said CEO of Ogilvy Africa, Vikas Mehta.

 Lessos are commonly used as slings by these women to carry their babies on their backs as they work.

Traditionally, the lessos are usually adorned with words of hope and love. They are often passed down to convey tribal stories and wisdom over many generations.

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