There is need to create awareness among young mothers living in rural areas on the importance of breastfeeding and complimentary feeding practices to ensure proper growth and development of their children in the first 24 months.
It is to this effect that Roto Tanks partnered with Ogilvy Africa to launch Lesso Lessons, which is an initiative that weaves the modern postnatal, nutritional guide into a traditional everyday Garment to help new and expectant mothers raise healthier children.
According to Roto Tanks CEO, Heril Bangera, the project seeks to turn the lessos that are used by every African woman while carrying out their daily tasks into lessons.
“Women in our country work long hours while carrying their babies on their backs in distinct vividly patterned cloth wraps called lessos. This project seeks to turn the lessos into lessons that teach young and expectant mothers the importance of breastfeeding and proper supplementary nutrition for their children in the first 24 months,” said Bangera.
Bangera noted that traditionally, lessos are usually adorned with words of hope and love which are used to convey tribal stories and wisdom over the generations.
The use of lessos therefore helps in tackling the malnutrition issue in a way that seamlessly fits into the Kenyan Women’s lives.
Speaking of the lesso design and concept, Ogilvy Africa, Executive Creative Director, Yash Deb said “While staying true to the traditional beauty of a lessos, we turned the postnatal nutritional textbook into a desirable and functional Garment that will hopefully continue teaching for generations to come.”
The lessos are grouped into three according to the crucial stages of postnatal, nutritional care (0-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-24 months).
Kajiado County Director for Medical Services, Dr Ezekiel Kapkoni urged the women to adhere to the lessons that are in the lessos and help in spreading the message of the importance of good nutrition to babies below 2 years of age.
“Many women in Kajiado just feed their babies without considering the nutritional value of the food. This has a detrimental effect on a child’s well-being thus the need for nutritional lessons which the lesso avails with illustrations and guiding information designed to drive easy comprehension, “said Dr Kapkoni.
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.
The lessos design will be rolled out in various languages and dialects across Kenya to be able to reach and educate women from all corners of the country.
The project was launched at Ilbissil Health Centre in Kajiado Central.
According to research done by the World Food Program, over 26% of all children under 5 are suffering from chronic malnutrition across Kenya.
This makes millions of Kenyan children end up with long-term issues with their physical growth, mental development and natural immunity.
By Diana Meneto