Fifteen years ago, scientists at Sumitomo Chemical invented Olyset® Net – a new category of long lasting insecticidal bednets. By 2004, Time Magazine had named this the “coolest invention” of the year, and Sumitomo Chemical was negotiating a technology transfer to A to Z Textile Mills to begin production in Africa. In 2006, as we were scaling up manufacturing capacity from 300,000 to 30 million nets per year, we initiated the Olyset Photo Library to demonstrate the real impact of bednets.
The Sumitomo Chemical team worked with world-renowned photographer Maggie Hallahan to create olysetphotos.com as a branded “lifestyle” campaign: portraying real families in their own homes who are “healthy and happy with Olyset Nets”. Over the last decade, the library has grown to include images from Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania – but, at sunrise on the first morning of our first photoshoot, we arrived in Kenya at the home of cousins Linet and Clementina. The captivating charm of their portraits made them iconic: widely shared and reprinted in magazines, billboards and media globally.
In recognition of their unique contribution inspiring progress in the fight against malaria, Sumitomo Chemical initiated a scholarship for our ‘Olyset Girls’ and in this video as part of our 15 year anniversary we celebrate their development, their ongoing success at school and how they embody the hopes and dreams of a generation benefitting from malaria protection.