LifeStraw® Follow the Liters Program Harnesses the Collective Power of Individual Consumers to Impact the Global Water Crisis
Program’s first stop in Kenya targets over 125,000 school children to receive more than 23 million liters of safe water a year
October 15, 2014, Kakamega, Kenya -- Vestergaard, a global company dedicated to improving the health of disadvantaged people, launched its LifeStraw® Follow the Liters program in Kenya this month. As part of this program, high-volume LifeStraw® Community water purifiers have been distributed to provide more than 23 million liters of safe water a year to over 125,000 school children throughout Kenya’s western province.
The distribution is made possible through the LifeStraw® Follow the Liters program which harnesses the collective power of individuals to help solve one of the world’s most pressing issues – lack of access to safe drinking water for people in developing countries. When a consumer purchases any LifeStraw® product, a portion of the funds are used to provide one school child in a developing country with safe drinking water for an entire school year.
UNICEF Kenya has estimated that only 37% of schools have access to safe drinking water within 200 meters of school grounds. Drinking contaminated water at school causes illnesses and absences which hinder a child’s ability to receive a proper education. According to UNICEF, a comprehensive program of safe clean water in schools can result in a 42% reduction in absenteeism.
The LifeStraw® Follow the Liters program is the result of a tremendous effort in planning and logistics and extensive coordination with the Government of Kenya. From October 6-16, 16 teams of trained health educators distributed more than 1,600 LifeStraw® Community water purifiers to over 300 schools throughout Kenya’s western province. School visits included student education about safe behaviors associated with water consumption, hygiene and sanitation and distribution of soap for hand washing.
Vestergaard’s exclusive North American distributor, EarthEasy.com Sustainable Living, has been a valued partner on the LifeStraw® Follow the Liters program. EarthEasy.com is a family owned company that provides products for environmentally sustainable living.
The LifeStraw® water filter was first introduced by Vestergaard in 2005 for public health use. The filter converts microbiologically contaminated water into safe drinking water that meets US EPA standards for water quality. Since then, the LifeStraw® brand has expanded to include additional water purifiers for use in the household, clinics and schools. In 2008, Vestergaard began selling its LifeStraw® filters directly to consumers, targeting outdoor enthusiasts. The newest product, LifeStraw® Go, incorporates award-winning LifeStraw® technology into a durable, refillable water bottle ideal for hikers, runners and campers.
The LifeStraw® Follow the Liters program enables Vestergaard to continue to connect its humanitarian mission with consumer sales. “And it enables a growing population of socially minded consumers to make an impact and become an active part of an important solution,” said Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO and owner of Vestergaard.
Vestergaard Frandsen emphasized that “transparency is critical to the ongoing success of the LifeStraw® Follow the Liters program. Consumers can literally ‘follow the liters’ as we’ll be showing the progress of the program in real time,” he explained. This information is accessible to the public in the form of a dynamic dashboard on the buylifestraw.com website. There, consumers can track the number of schools that receive the purifiers and the number of students reached. Kenya is just the beginning as Vestergaard expects consumer sales to continue to support expansion of the LifeStraw® Follow the Liters program into developing communities in Asia and Latin America. For more information, visit buylifestraw.com.
LifeStraw® is manufactured by Vestergaard (www.vestergaard.com), a Swiss-based global company dedicated to improving the health of disadvantaged people with game-changing solutions that fight malaria, HIV/AIDS, diarrheal disease and neglected tropical diseases. The company is the largest producer of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets that prevent malaria under the PermaNet® brand, and its award-winning LifeStraw® water filters have been designed for individual, family and community uses.
Contact: Meryl Rader, Communications Director, Vestergaard
Studio and field-based images of LifeStraw® and b-roll are available upon request.