[Field Report]Our Joint Observational Visit
with Shionogi & Co., Ltd. in Rima Ra Pera, Kenya

Have you heard of “collective impact”? It’s a term that describes collaborative activity in which companies and organizations with common goals share their specialized skills with each other to solve social issues.
Since 2022, we have been working with Shionogi and World Vision, an international NGO, under the common goal of promoting independently operated communities.
Rima Ra Pera district is an off-grid area in Kilifi County, Kenya. Here, Shionogi has been working with the international NGO World Vision on a project that aims to improve the health of mothers and children, and we have collaborated with them to further improve the effectiveness of this project by providing one of our renewable-energy-based power supply systems.
This time, we’ll be reporting on the joint observational visit we carried out at the site of our collaborative activities.

Supporting the health of mothers and children: Shionogi’s Mother to Mother SHIONOGI Project

The goal of this project is to improve the health of mothers and children. In Kenya, the maternal mortality rate is 68 times higher than in Japan, and the mortality rate for children under five years old is 22 times higher than in Japan. The health of mothers, as well as children, is at risk. This is due to the fact that medical facilities are in remote locations, and even when they are nearby, medical facilities may not have enough medical equipment and staff.
To address these issues, Shionogi, in partnership with World Vision, has built clinics and maternity wards and provides health and hygiene education to community health workers and local residents.

The great thing about this project is that it goes beyond medical support to provide all kinds of support for mothers. They also run programs where mothers learn about nutrition so their children can eat balanced diets and grow up healthy. One mother, who had learned about nutrition, showed us the many dishes she made herself while proudly explaining how she now cooks with a balance of vitamins and protein in mind for her growing children.
Shionogi and World Vision also engage in a variety of activities, such as supporting mothers in raising chickens so they can become financially independent and creating savings groups so mothers can help each other pay for their children’s school expenses.
By listening to the stories of mothers while on location, we can really feel that they’re doing these activities on their own and that this will surely lead to the independent operation of the community.

A woman describing the nutritionally balanced meal she made herself
A woman who has started raising chickens for work

Using renewable energy to supply light and electricity in off-grid areas

Rima Ra Pera is an off-grid area that has no access to electricity. Even the maternity wards and medical facilities built by Shionogi don’t have access to electricity. As a result, the refrigerators they use to store vaccines are powered by gas, but this is unstable. They are also unable to use many pieces of testing and medical equipment that require electricity. This forces villagers to travel to distant medical facilities just to get tested.
To resolve this issue, in cooperation with Shionogi and World Vision, we will contribute to the utilization of testing and medical equipment as well as the improvement of the living environment for medical staff by donating a renewable, solar-energy-powered storage-battery system to this district.
During the joint observational visit, a nurse who described the local facility to us explained that it was much more efficient now that they had access to electricity and could use electrical medical equipment. The nurse told us that pregnant women actually need to have at least four checkups before giving birth, and women who used to have to travel far for these checkups can now be seen in this village. One mother also told us how pleased she was because having the lights on made her feel safe at night.

Doctors explaining how they use and benefit from electrical medical equipment

A large gathering attended by the governor and many villagers

Since employees from Shionogi, World Vision, and our company would be coming from Japan to visit Rima Ra Pera district and there would be a groundbreaking ceremony for a building supported by Shionogi’s project, we got in touch with some residents to call together a gathering of villagers. Upon hearing about this, the county governor rushed over on a dirt road for three hours to see us. The villagers welcomed us enthusiastically with songs and dances, and they verbally expressed their gratitude to us. Before we knew it, there was a crowd of about 600 people gathered there. The sudden participation of the governor, who heads the local government, and the large number of villagers, may have been due to the arrival of rare visitors from Japan, but we felt there was a high level of interest in this project.
Some villagers even walked for several hours to greet us. We were truly grateful.

A group of mothers welcoming us with songs and dances at the gathering

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Shionogi and World Vision for allowing us to collaborate with them and for giving us the opportunity to visit this location and observe their activities with them, with the common goal of promoting independently operated communities rather than simply providing charity.
We believe the project will continue and more work will be needed to help the community operate independently. We will continue to work with Shionogi and World Vision to support these activities so they will be appreciated by the local people.

Shionogi and World Vision employees who participated in the joint observational visit

[Related Sites]

Shionogi’s Mother to Mother SHIONOGI Project

The website for the international NGO, World Vision