In many parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive, the art of filmmaking is regarded as one of the most important. By its nature, it captures and uses one’s sight and hearing- the moving pictures and accompanying music engage audiences across all cultures. It then becomes an important tool in disseminating information that can positively influence society.
Case in point: Dettol and Nollywood favourite Funke Akindele-Bello. On Tuesday, the 80-year old brand announced the actress as its brand ambassador who will help drive its Clean Naija initiative. Clean Naija is the company’s action plan to raise awareness for the masses to lead cleaner, more hygienic lives.
It is estimated that 150,000 Nigerian children die annually from diarrhoea, a statistic that is quite frightening. It is more shocking when one considers that an otherwise simple habit of regular handwashing can drastically reduce this- by 48%.
It, therefore, makes enormous sense for the company to call on a face that is nationally recognizable- far more than public office holders- to help drive home the Clean Naija message. Funke Akindele-Bello is not only a celebrity, as a new mother herself, she herself embodies clean hygiene as a way of life.
“Good hygiene is extremely important for the twins,” she said when she was unveiled as the brand ambassador. “Immediately I was contacted to get involved, I jumped on it because of the significance of this. Being part of Clean Naija will also help me reach out to more people and touch their lives in actual ways. We are committed to educating all Nigerians on the best hygiene practices which will ultimately help to build healthier lives and happier homes.”
The role of Akindele-Bello is also not lost on the brand team who is aware of the urgency to spread the message of good hygiene, especially among children and new mothers. Explaining why she was a right fit for the initiative, the General Manager of Reckitt Benckiser West Africa, Mr Dayanand Sriram said “The Clean Naija Initiative is an integrated multi-level campaign with the aim of creating awareness, education and driving behavioural change to achieve a cleaner and healthier Nigeria. The campaign not only brings to the fore the need for hygiene behaviour change, very important within the framework of the campaign is embedded hygiene education leveraging face to face, traditional and new media to drive this change in Nigeria with special focus on new mothers and children.”
He also added thus: “Reports place Nigeria among the top nations that bear a significant portion of the global disease burden and high under-5 mortality rates. Many of these diseases, such as diarrhoea can be preventable by practising proper hand washing habits and wide-scale hygiene education. Mrs Akindele-Bello has been a worthy role model and an inspiration for all Nigerians. Having also recorded success in various selfless activities, we have deemed her worthy of leading our “Clean Naija Initiative”.
Many celebrities no longer consider it enough to use their fame only personal advancement; many have used their voices to drive home more substantial issues. For Dettol and Funke Akindele-Bello, the message has never been stronger: Clean Up Naija.
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