Paraffin safety made fun

2015-07-29 06:00
ACTOR Stozie Mpandle entertains the children during the Engen ­KlevaKidz paraffin safety campaign. 

Armand Hough

ACTOR Stozie Mpandle entertains the children during the Engen ­KlevaKidz paraffin safety campaign. Photo: Armand Hough

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WITH winter still very much with us, many households across the Free State use paraffin for heaters in an effort to keep homes warm.

Therefore, Engen KlevaKidz, a national campaign that educates rural and township communities about the safe handling and storage of paraffin, has been informing the Free State throughout July.

A travelling educational drama will, by Friday (31/07), have visited 20 schools in disadvantaged communities where paraffin is still widely used and paraffin-related accidents are common.

Growing rapidly

Engen KlevaKidz was launched in 2008, and has grown rapidly over the past few years. By the end of 2014, the campaign had reached 139 643 learners in 391 schools. This year, the campaign is set to visit 100 new schools across the country.


“As the name suggests, the KlevaKidz campaign delivers its empowering safety message through edutainment, including facts about what to do in an emergency,” says Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray, Engen’s general manager of corporate affairs.

“Over the years of Engen’s involvement in paraffin safety, we have become aware that children aged eight to 13 are often the primary daytime caregivers of their younger brothers and sisters.

“It is with this in mind that we target them with the message of safety,” says Mntu Nduvane, Engen’s Corporate Social Investment manager.

The KlevaKidz production takes the form of an interactive educational stage drama that raises awareness of the dangers associated with handling and storing paraffin and how to prevent accidents from taking place.

The production uses a television quiz-show format as a vehicle for relaying the message, combined with a catchy jingle.

“We have found edutainment to be a powerful medium to stimulate children’s imagination. What is even more rewarding, is to hear children of four years old still singing the paraffin safety jingle afterwards,” says Nduvane.

Research commissioned by Engen in 2011, which benchmarked the before and after of the first KlevaKidz campaign, illustrated that awareness improved from 24% to 90% and changed the behaviour of more than 80% of participants.

“It is heartening to see such an important message becoming so entrenched,” says Sulaiman-Bray.

Paraffin safety tips

) Lock it tight.

) Clearly label bottles or containers that contain paraffin.

) Do not re-use everyday household bottles, such as milk or juice bottles, to store paraffin.

) Store it away from the reach of children.

) Use a funnel when dealing with paraffin and steer away from open fires or stoves. Preferably be in an area where there is a free flow of air.

) Wash your hands with soap and water after using paraffin in the house.

) Use sand, never water, to put out fires

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