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Kenya Red Cross Receives $20,000 ‘Get Fit’ Donation


GE’s Jay Ireland presents Kenya Red Cross’ partnerships manager Rosemary Mutunkei with the $20,000 Get Fit donation

The Red Cross is perhaps the most respected humanitarian aid organization in the world — certainly it is the most recognizable; its universally understood logo is the symbol of aid and medical care given with humanity, neutrality and independence. Kenya Red Cross has been active in the country since 1965, when it was created by the Kenyan parliament. As a humanitarian relief organization, it is funded largely by donations from partners and the public.

On October 5, the president and CEO of GE Africa, Jay Ireland, presented a check for US$20,000 (equivalent to over two million Kenyan shillings) to Fredrick Gori, Kenya Red Cross’ communications manager and Rosemary Mutunkei, the organization’s partnerships manager. Kenya Red Cross was chosen to receive the donation as a result of a public vote — the final stage of GE Healthcare’s global ‘Get Fit’ cancer awareness competition.

The Winning Continent and Public Vote

GE Healthcare challenged Twitter users around the world to tweet what they were doing to stay healthy and keep fit, while including a hashtag representing a country and continent. The Get Fit competition prompted a broad international response, from calorie-conscious dieters to marathon-running exercise fans, but ultimately the highest number of tweets were marked with countries from the Middle East and Africa.

With the winning continent decided, the final stage of the competition involved a vote by visitors to the GE Healthcare Newsroom to determine which country’s Red Cross or Red Crescent Society would receive the $20,000 donation. A late surge in votes tipped the scales in favor of Kenya, whose Red Cross can now use the money to help further its long term humanitarian programs.

Kenya Red Cross’ Fredrick Gori explains how the money will make a genuine difference to the organization’s work: “We are very pleased to be given this donation, as it will bolster our ongoing aid initiatives. We provide emergency support for humanitarian disasters such as the recent fuel pipeline explosion, and the drought and subsequent famine which left over 3 million people from Kenya’s arid districts in need of emergency food aid. We always welcome extra resources and ways to raise awareness or encourage support for our work.”

“Our medium- to long-term initiatives are designed to give those in the most remote areas the resources to grow their own food. A greenhouse costs 250,000 Kenyan shillings [about US$2,500] and can help local communities move closer to being self-sufficient.”    

Continuing Humanitarian Aid

The Get Fit check follows a separate donation from the 35 GE employees based in Kenya, who together raised $10,000 for Kenya Red Cross in August. GE’s Jay Ireland: “Kenya Red Cross has been making a real difference to the lives of so many Kenyans for decades, and we’re glad to be able to make a contribution that allows this organization to continue its crucial humanitarian work.”

Kenya Red Cross has 500 staff operating across the country, with at least 80 percent of this number working in the field to help improve health conditions throughout Kenya. This donation, and the others it receives from around the world, will help Kenya Red Cross maintain and expand its activities, from raising awareness of local health issues to providing vital emergency response support.