Roto Tanks has partnered with Ogilvy Africa (as part of the Ogilvy Give Program)  in a project aimed at educating young mothers 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 (called ‘lessos’) to educate young Kenyan mothers in rural areas on proper postnatal nutritional care.

It is important to note that 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.

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 1 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.

As the first 24 months are the most pivotal in a child’s nutrition and development, the team created 3 different Lesso Lessons; each one tackling one of three key development periods (0-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-24 months).

The World Food Programme (WFP) has identified malnutrition as the number one cause of death in children under five. In Kenya, over 26% of children under 5 years of age. Which means that 1 in 4 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 complimentary 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.

Roto Tanks, with their vast, deep-reaching logistics and delivery capabilities have teamed up with Ogilvy Africa to help distribute a specially designed lesso that offers young mothers nutritional information and guidance that could have a lasting impact on the health and development of their child.

Vikas Mehta CEO, Ogilvy Africa, had this to say, “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.”

Through the Lesso Lessons project, the two organizations aim to distribute over 1 million lessos in parts of Central, Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley, Coast, Western, Nyanza and Nairobi regions.