As I end my trip to Kenya and head to Uganda, I want to share a video that we prepared following one of my previous trips to Kenya. I had the great pleasure of visiting the AID Village Clinics in Mbirikani, Kenya.
Note: This entry was written right before the recent political unrest. Subsequently, we have been checking on the safety of our employees and partners. I’ve been in contact with all of our Kenyan partners including our P&G Kenya colleagues and am happy to report that everyone is safe. Kenyans certainly need our thoughts and prayers for peace at this time. Our work is even more critical in Kenya now to help those most in need.
I’m in the town of Lubumbashi, a mining town in the far southeast corner of DR Congo. Its claim to fame is mining and the birthplace of the actor Jean-Claude Van Damme. The two PSI staff, Dodo Ilungo and Mando, who work to provide PUR in this town, are doing a great job. There are 40 shops currently selling PUR in Lubumbashi, and they sell a total of about 20,000 sachets a month. Dodo and Mando provide PUR to the local shops and do product demonstrations in health centers, schools, and churches.
It’s been almost a year since we launched PUR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and the Republic of Congo (Congo). PSI has reported a sustained and slowly growing market for the PUR sachets, and I’m eager to see their progress first-hand. They’ve provided more than 15 million liters of safe drinking water using the PUR sachets since the launch of the program, thereby preventing more than half a million days of diarrhea and saving about 100 lives.
We’re on track to meet our 2006 Clinton Global Initiative commitment of reaching 1 million African children with safe drinking water education and providing more than 135 million liters of safe drinking water to the schools and surrounding communities. Actually, we’ve already surpassed the liter goal for safe drinking water and have put plans in place to exceed the goal for reaching one million children.
We’re in the community of Aspota in West Haraghe, Ethiopia. This is a village in which PSI has used multiple approaches to build a community-wide habit of household water treatment. They’re providing both PUR Purifier of Water and the dilute bleach product called Waterguard. The two products have the same brand name in the local language, and this allows PSI to be efficient with their communication efforts. PUR is called “Waha Agar Tellel” in Amharic, and the Waterguard product is called “Waha Agar.”
After three days of meetings, I’m eager to get out of the hotel and into the field to see the progress of our Children’s Safe Drinking Water program in Ethiopia. We’re headed to West Haraghe, more than 300 kilometers from Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa.