As a family-run company, ECCO holds its core value of Care close to its heart. The collaboration with SOS Children's Villages resonates with ECCO's wish to make a difference for the children of the world and supports the mission of this international charity organisation to give orphans and vulnerable children a better life. Each step taken at a walkathon event raises money, and this year 15,000 fundraisers took to the streets of Copenhagen in support of a new BIO-HOUSE for children living in Nairobi's slum. ECCO travelled to Kenya to find out first-hand how the project will benefit children in need.
"A major challenge for children growing up in the slums of Nairobi is the spread of infectious diseases through contaminated water and poor sanitation," states Andreas Honoré, Corporate Relations Manager for SOS Children's Villages, adding: "The BIO-HOUSE gives children access to hygienic toilet facilities and a safe place to wash or shower where they are not exposed to any risks."
The BIO-HOUSE is designed to be run by locals, ensuring the sustainability of the project. A plant beneath the lavatories will transform human waste into a resource, generating biogas to be used in its community kitchen. The hope is to establish a kindergarten, playground and vegetable garden too, forming a setting for childcare and education which will have a positive effect on those living in this densely packed shanty town.
"An innovative project such as the BIO-HOUSE is a model example of companies and NGOs working together to improve very challenging circumstances affecting some of the most at-risk people in the world," says Andreas. ECCO's partnership with SOS Children's Villages has involved projects in a range of countries, with support for healthcare clinics, family programmes and scholarships. Vivi Okholm, Sponsorship & Events Manager at ECCO, adds: "We have always worked closely together, defining where the Walkathon donations could give the highest impact and with a joint mission to support global projects that are sustainable; tackling urgent problems today, whilst ensuring the long-term viability of the project."
It is clear to see the joy of walking at these charity walks. Vivi comments: "ECCO Walkathon is doing good for others whilst also doing good for yourself; walking in the fresh air to boost your own health, as well as bringing together friends and family for a fun day out." ECCO also launched a special edition anniversary shoe, with all proceeds going to SOS Children's Villages and the Danish Heart Foundation. To anyone standing in the slum in Nairobi, it is obvious that the new BIO-HOUSE has the potential to make a significant difference for the children and their families, thanks to all those who walked for a good cause. As a token of ECCO's appreciation, everyone left the event with a practical three-way convertible bag that, thanks to the clever use of straps, buckles and cinches, can be made into either a tote, backpack or messenger.