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UN targets firms using animals in ads

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By KITAVI MUTUA
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Companies that use animals to market their brands will now be required by United Nations Development Programme to raise funds for wildlife conservation.

In the new initiative dubbed Lion’s Share, the corporate world in all UN member states will be expected to make voluntary contributions every time an animal appears in their adverts.

The money raised will be channelled towards conservation of wildlife habitats and animal welfare.

Advertisers like Kenya Commercial Bank which uses a lion in its logo or Nakumatt chain stores that uses elephant symbol are being asked to contribute 0.5 per cent of their media spending for each TV, print or online marketing campaign featuring an animal.

The 330ml of Tusker beer bottles. The East

The 330ml of Tusker beer bottles. The East African Breweries Limited uses the elephant to market its Tusker brand of beer. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The campaign argues that whereas many corporate bodies use animals to advance their commercial brands and make profits, little or nothing is channelled back to the wildlife, most of which continue to be endangered due to human activities.

The Lion’s Share Fund gives brands the opportunity to take urgent and significant action to play their role in protecting wildlife conservation and animal welfare by raising money, beyond corporate social responsibility, in a more sustainable way.

According to Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the director of UNDP’s bureau for policy and programme support, the initiative is a coalition of the willing and anyone who feels compassionate enough to give back to the wildlife, they are using to generate profits.

“Everyone is commercially abusing the wildlife to advertise their products from airlines, hotels, banks, manufacturing firms, but despite this profit-making significance, animals do not always get the support they deserve” he said in an interview with the Nation.

Mr Dieye explained: “We’re not compelling firms to contribute to Lion’s Share Fund but rather creating moral compassion and awareness on the need to support wildlife conservation”.

He says the new fund aims to raise US$100 million annually in the next three years. The money will be invested in initiatives and programmes that benefit animal welfare, conservation and their environments worldwide.

A statue of an elephant stands in front of

A statue of an elephant stands in front of Nakumatt Supermarket in Eldoret on November 4, 2017. The troubled chain uses an elephant to market its services and decorate its premises. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Statistics compiled by UN indicate that, advertisers worldwide spend about US$300 billion and the campaigners think the 0.5 per cent is a tiny fraction of the global budget that will see them raise a minimum of US$100 million annually.

Out of the spending, animals appear in approximately 20 per cent of all advertisements in the world, yet despite this, animals do not always receive the support they deserve.

“We intend to raise the amount from advertisers whom we expect to contribute 0.5 per cent of their media spend every time an animal is featured in an advertisement,” the UN official explained 

This, he said will go a long way in reversing the deaths of wildlife species in danger of extinction globally by restoring their depleted habitats and enhancing their protection measures.

Two weeks ago, UNDP signed a major partnership agreement with global outdoor advertising firm JCDecaux Group, the latest partner to join the Lion’s Share Fund campaign.

The deal was signed during the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, which brought together more than 4,700 delegates including six heads of state, environment ministers from 88 countries, business leaders and civil society representatives from across the world.

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JCDecaux, which operates in 4,031 cities across more than 80 countries—20 of them in Africa and reaches a daily audience of over 410 million people, will play a key role in the initiative, running campaigns of the Lion’s Share across the year.

“This latest partnership with JCDecaux marks a continuing evolution of this innovative fund, which is providing an opportunity for media companies to join and to help preserve and protect biodiversity across the globe” said Mr Dieye.

The Assistant UN secretary-general explained that animals appear in approximately 20 per cent of all advertisements in the world, yet despite this, they do not always receive the support they deserve.

“Each year, we lose 10,000 species to extinction – which is an astonishing 1,000 times the natural rate. This crisis may seem insurmountable at times because its scale feels too large for anyone to have a real impact. But this crisis is reversible, and nature can thrive again. The Lion’s Share is harnessing this hope,” he added.

Big global names in advertising including Mars Incorporated, advertising heavyweight Clemenger BBDO and leading global measurement and data analytics company Nielsen have partnered with UNDP to drive the campaign.

UNDP will host the fund’s Secretariat, which will support the overall operations of the fund while JCDecaux will help raise awareness worldwide about the crucial and urgent agenda of wildlife conservation.

Mr Jean-Sébastien Decaux, the CEO of JCDecaux said the Lion’s Share global initiative underlines their commitment to preserve and protect biodiversity across the world and the campaign is an opportunity to contribute towards the United Nations’ sustainable goals.

Mr Decaux who is charge of Southern Europe, Belgium, Luxembourg, Africa, Israel regions said as the leading advertising company, they are delighted to use the power and reach of marketing portfolio to raise people’s awareness and to help create positive and sustainable changes.

“We are proud to support the Lion’s Share fund in its mission to promote wildlife conservation and restoring their habitats across the globe, which are key to achieving UN’s sustainable goals 14 and 15, on Life under water and on land, respectively” said the CEO.

In September last year, media firm the Economist which publishes The Economist, joined the campaign and pledged to contribute 0.5 per cent of the amount it receives from advertisers featuring animals in their commercials in the group’s publications.

“We are pleased to partner with the UNDP as the inaugural publishing partner for the Lion’s Share initiative, because it aligns with our brand values,” said Chris Stibbs, CEO of The Economist Group.

Since the Lion’s Share Fund was launched in June 2018, a total of US$15 million (Sh1.5 billion) has been raised mainly from corporates in Europe and the United States.

The fund’s steering committee held its first meeting last week in Nairobi during the UNEA conference, where they discussed and agreed on a five-year investment plan, and how to spend the $15 million raised so far.

Each year, according to UN data, the world loses 10,000 species to extinction—a staggering 1,000 times the natural rate.

In Africa, the fund will provide a grant to improve critical radio systems for law enforcement officers protecting wildlife in Mozambique’s Niassa National Reserve.

Other key investments include providing a grant to help secure land for endangered orangutans, elephants and tigers in North Sumatra in Indonesia, a programme to support endangered jaguars in Latin America and to address the loss of tigers and their habitat in Asia.

In the next six years, the Lion’s Share fund aims to contribute significantly to issues such as saving the world’s remaining 4,000 wild tigers, including by re-establishing their fragmented habitats and helping strengthen tiger-friendly livelihoods for people living in tiger habitats.

Protecting elephants and rhinos from poaching by combating the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn including through innovative anti-poaching technologies and reducing the illegal trade of birds, fish and reptiles and other exotic pets by reducing the supply and demand for illegal pets through new research and investigation, awareness raising and enforcement.

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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

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Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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