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Sanergy team members Joseph Githinji and Peter Macharia,
taken by Nicole Parisi-Smith

When anyone at Sanergy has a question about Mukuru, there is one guy we automatically turn to: Peter Macharia, marketing team member and January Teammate of the month. The recent challenge: where do we find local music talent to develop the first ever Fresh Life song?

Before Sanergy, Peter directed educational performances (edu-tainment) in Mukuru through the Discovery Life Program, which cultivates local artistic talent to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and teach life skills. Two of Peter’s Discovery Life Program friends, Nelmo and General Nyiden, gained fame in Mukuru after collaborating on a song that unified their community around preventing drug abuse and crime. Nelmo’s upbeat dance songs are popular amongst area residents whereas General Nyiden is known for his energizing reggae songs. Mukuru is also home to Love-E Mgenge, an underground hip hop artist. Peter decided to bring together Nelmo, General Nyiden, and Love-E Mgenge.

Joseph Githinji, our Marketing Manager, gave the trio our marketing materials, and challenged them to write a song about us. We were looking for a song that would appeal to and unite Nelmo’s dance music listeners, General Nyiden’s reggae followers, and Love-E Mgenge’s hip hop crowd. A tough challenge to be sure, but symbolic of our desire to emphasize that our work is for all walks of life.

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General Nyiden, Love-E Mgenge, and Nelmo pose in front of a Fresh Life Toilet, photo courtesy of General Nyiden

General Nyiden explained how the song came about. “The people in Mukuru are used to listening to songs in Kiswahili, so we decided to sing partly in Kiswahili. We also decided to sing partly in English so the song could be listened to by people outside of the community. We wanted to combine the two languages so the song could reach everybody.” A week later the artists performed for Joseph, Peter, and the whole team. Do you think we accomplished our goal with this song?

At World Toilet Day, Nelmo performed his music, as did Love-E Mgenge and General Nyiden separately. Adults and children were already dancing with glee, but then the MC announced that the trio would perform together. The crowd erupted in a loud cheer – collaboration among these artists from the community was rare and exciting. And it all happened thanks to the support of an organization that is changing the community.

The roadshow did not end there. Now, Sanergy teammates are greeted by children singing the Fresh Life Song as they work in the community. And this week, the song has received radio play on Pamoja FM, a local Kenyan radio station, as part of a jingle promoting the opening of two of our newest toilets in Kamkunji.

A big thank you to Nelmo, General Nyiden, and Love-E Mgenge – you are making Mukuru come alive and we wish you the best as your careers thrive!

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