Leading Water tanks manufacturer Roto Tanks and Africa’s largest marketing and communications
network agency, Ogilvy Africa (as part of the Ogilvy Give Program) have partnered 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.
Speaking of the design and concept, Yash Deb – Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy Africa said, “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.”
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, that’s 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
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.
Heril Bangera – President, 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 1 million lessos in parts
of Central, Eastern, North Eastern, Rift Valley, Coast, Western, Nyanza and Nairobi regions.
Vikas Mehta – CEO, Ogilvy Africa sums it up, “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”