Kirsty Coventry, Zimbabwean Olympic champion in 2004 and 2008, is visiting two Kenyan well construction projects run by the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) as an ambassador for global swimwear brand, Arena, today and tomorrow.
AMREF is the leading private health and research organization working in Sub-Saharan Africa, and implements health development projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Southern Sudan and South Africa. Arena is an AMREF partner and key sponsor of the two well construction projects, and also sponsors Coventry as a member of its Elite Team of swimming champions.
Recently elected to the IOC Athletes’ Commission at the London Games, Coventry will first visit the Uwu spring project in the Mutitu area of the Kitui District, some 200km (125 miles) east of Nairobi.
Now complete, the project involved the protection of a natural spring and construction of a gravity-based water distribution system to benefit some 6,000 inhabitants in four villages and two primary schools. As part of its modus operandi, AMREF co-opts the local communities that stand to benefit as members of their project teams, and hands off the completed projects to these communities for ongoing management and maintenance.
During her visit today, Coventry shared her Olympic experiences and life stories with the local community and primary school students.
Coventry will visit an artesian well project in the Mwitika area of the Kitui district tomorrow. When complete, the 160m-deep well (525 feet) will provide 24 cubic metres of water per hour to three primary schools and 12 villages. The project is scheduled to be completed at the end of the year.
"Access to water in various regions of Africa is a major problem and the importance of water projects cannot be overlooked," said Coventry. "Arena is assisting AMREF in doing great work by helping local communities find and obtain this valuable resource. I am proud to represent these companies and the work they are doing."
"Our partnership with AMREF to help provide clean water to the disadvantaged people of Africa is extremely important to Arena," said Giuseppe Musciacchio, Arena’s General manager Brand Development. "We believe that being able to share the passion of our athletes with the local communities through visits of this kind is an important complement to our financial support, and we’re really pleased to have Kirsty as our ambassador.
"Despite having to leave her home in Zimbabwe for Olympic-level training facilities in the US, she still identifies herself strongly with her homeland, and returns whenever she can. The fact that she views her long-term future in Zimbabwe, along with her strong moral and ethical values make her the ideal candidate to represent Arena in our AMREF partnership. We hope that her visit provides a strong fillip to the communities and their initiatives, and look forward to continuing our relationship with AMREF through supporting more projects such as these in the future."
Elena Di Fazio, AMREF Italy’s Business Relationship Manager added: "AMREF has always considered collaboration with business to be essential to its cause, and works continuously to enhance the commitment of its partners. Arena joined us in 2008 and since then has supported our water projects in Kenya, representing for us a powerful example of how to combine social responsibility with corporate strategic goals: a partnership that demonstrates how we can effectively implement an initiative based not only on project execution, but also in terms of marketing and communication.
"The involvement of an athlete as admired and dedicated as Kirsty Coventry, and her trip to visit the field once again confirms that participation in the work of AMREF is deeply felt by all representatives of the company, from executives to athletes. We hope that Arena will draw fresh motivational strength from this experience, and develop even greater awareness of the importance of its support for the beneficiary communities of our water projects."