The Danish company Vestergaard's LifeStraw, a water filtration system that was featured as one of our ten masterpieces of Danish design, is starting a distribution campaign on Monday that will bring safe and clean drinking water to African children.
The campaign, dubbed Follow the Liters, aims to help about 200,000 schoolchildren in western Kenya avoid water-related diseases like cholera and dysentery.
The company has provided part of the funds of any LifeStraw product purchase to the Follow the Liters campaign. For every LifeStraw sold, a child in Africa will receive clean water for a year, making the campaign one of the largest private donations to the continent this year.
“Every time that a LifeStraw product is purchased in Europe or the US, we will donate part of the funds to the campaign Follow the Liters,” Nicolaj Due, CEO of WaterNlife, the distributor of LifeStraw in Europe, told The Local.
Beginning Monday, the proceedings of the LifeStraw sales will be used to take clean water directly to the schoolchildren, in what will be a significant improvement over the company's expectations.
“Last year was the pilot test of the campaign and we reached more than 150,000 students and 300 schools, so we are escalating the campaign this year,” he added.
Follow the litre campaign improved the life of more than 150.000 children last year. Photo: WaterNLife.
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The funds will provide community water purifiers to school as well as health education, maintenance and follow-up visits. The purchaser will also be able to track their donations.
“We want the consumer to have a very clear picture of how their funds are used in a correct way,” Due said. “The follow up is very important too, we want to make sure that the products are being used correctly."
Due said that Kenya is one of the countries with the worst quality of the water and that if the LifeStraw campaign is successful there, the Danish company wants to extend it to countries in South America or Asia.
Vestergaard was created in 1957 and originally produced workers' uniforms. In 1986, it began using surplus wool cloth to make blankets that were sold to the Red Cross and Save the Children. The company's LifeStraw was developed in 2005 and has since received global recognition.