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Helping to protect lives and livelihoods from the Covid-19 pandemic


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Unilever East Africa commits to helping fight the pandemic through people safety, supply chain continuity and community support program. Announces €100M DFID Partnership Funding to support the most vulnerable

Unilever covid-19 hand washing

Nairobi, April 2020. Unilever East Africa has announced its local commitment in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic across the cluster of its businesses with the formal launch of €100M funding in partnership with the UK Department for International Development.

The goods manufacturer of brands including Lifebuoy, Sunlight, Omo, Domestos and Royco, spelt out a wide-ranging set of measures to augment its global announcement that will focus on people safety, essential suppliers and community support.

Justin Apsey, CEO Unilever East Africa said: “These are unprecedent times that call for true business leadership in facing the impact that coronavirus is having on our people’s lives and livelihoods. We have seen the most incredible response from the government and health institutions, our teams and partners, especially those on the front line of our supply chain operations including manufacturing, distribution and retail stores.

We hope that our consolidated donation of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food will make a significant contribution towards protecting people’s lives and cushioning the society against the ravages of this pandemic.”

The company’s actions are designed to help protect the lives and livelihoods of its multiple stakeholders – including its consumers and communities, its customers and suppliers, and its workforce in quest to lead in creating a brighter future for all East Africans. This move comes at the back of Unilever’s earlier announcement that committed 100M euros, half of which came directly from the local markets.

As a result of the €100M Unilever-DFID deal, Unilever East Africa is seeking to convene a coalition of local partners and has called out for proposals from those that can help in the immediate community targeted awareness and behaviour change response through the coalition. Requirements to be considered for partnerships include being able to;-

  • Mount a rapid response on an unprecedented scale aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Deliver high-impact interventions to improve both personal and environmental hygiene to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Coalition partners will draw on Unilever’s expertise on consumer insights, behaviour change and on strengthening supply chains.

Consumers and communities

Unilever will contribute an assortment of its frontline products of soap, sanitiser, bleach and food to help in the fight against the pandemic. This includes:

  • Lifebouy donation of more than half a million soaps through local community outreach and behaviour change partners tackling access and soap commodity supplies to some of the most vulnerable populations in the high density settlements. A bulk of the donation that also includes sanitation and nutrition products will be channelled through the National Business Compact, a private and social sector initiative in collaboration with the UN and the government of Kenya which is supporting global and local health organisations and agencies with their response to the emergency.
  • In addition to the supply of Lifebuoy soap, Unilever has immediately invested in local sanitizer production to boost national capacity in meeting heightened demand for use in consumer and community hotspots and health institutional settings.
  • Donation of Sunlight bar soaps and powder detergent, domestos powder to support surface hygiene enhancement. Donation of 650 cases of iron fortified Royco cubes to support in enhancing about 312,000 meals among vulnerable populations.
  • Donations and distribution partnerships with market and community networked solution providers such as Jumia, Twiga, Copia and Sanergy.
  • Integrated mainstream and social media public health communication and handwashing education programmes delivered through national health authorities to support local communities most at need

Customers and suppliers

Unilever will offer business continuity support to cushion livelihoods across its extended value chain, through:

  • Extending credit to selected small-scale retail customers whose business rely on Unilever, to help them manage and protect jobs.


Unilever will protect its workforce from sudden drops in pay, as a result of market disruption or being unable to perform their role, for up to three months. We will cover our employees, contractors and others who we manage or who work on our sites, on a full or part-time basis. This will apply to workers not already covered by government plans or by their direct employer.

Media Enquiries

Joseph Sunday
+254 700 639722

Patrick Muchiri
+254 725 064149

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