Friday 30 October, 2020

Lifebuoy launches €30million ‘H for Handwashing’ initiative

Photo: Lifebuoy

Photo: Lifebuoy

Global soap brand Lifebuoy has launched a 'H for Handwashing’ campaign to help change the behaviour of children towards handwashing.

In a statement for Global Handwashing Day celebrated on October 15, the company said the project will involve co-creating programmes with education, health, humanitarian and behaviour change experts to encourage handwashing habits in children from a young age.

Lifebuoy said it will mobilize €30 million towards the initiative called ‘H for Handwashing’. The key focus of this multi-year campaign will be to integrate good hygiene practices into early childhood learning through a series of educational activities and partnerships with NGOs, and private and public institutions around the world to help drive handwashing behaviour change among children and adolescents.

'Inspired by how children learn their A, B, C, Lifebuoy has reimagined how the letter H is taught by advocating that H stands for Handwashing.'

'To bring this movement to life, Lifebuoy, in collaboration with the Global Handwashing Partnership, has launched the ‘H for Handwashing’ resource page to enable NGOs , governments, schools, teachers, pupils and the public to actively participate.'

The company said it will partner with leading organisations. Gwen Hines, Executive Director of Global Programmes from humanitarian organisation Save The Children said: “We look forward to collaborating on this important initiative to embed positive health, nutrition and hygiene behaviours during children’s early years, working alongside communities, health workers and educators”.

Amid the backdrop of the pandemic and beyond, Lifebuoy will also partner with Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organisation behind children’s programme Sesame Street, to create premium educational storytelling for children and caregivers to drive positive hygiene behaviours.

The tailored content will be distributed to families across Asia and Africa in 2021.

Samir Singh, Global Executive Vice-President, Skin Cleansing and Oral Care at Unilever said: “Today more than ever, we need to ensure that handwashing with soap remains prioritised and practiced by everyone, everywhere. At Lifebuoy, we have championed handwashing for over a decade, running the world’s largest behaviour change programme that has reached over 1 billion people globally ”.

“We now plan to use that experience to change children’s hand washing habits for life. How? Children have been learning the letters of the alphabet for hundreds of years through simple associations with everyday references such as “A for Apple”, “B for Ball”, “C for Cat”. Starting this October, we are advocating greater emphasis on hand hygiene education through a movement to fundamentally change the way the alphabet is taught – no longer will the letter H stand for Horse, Hat or even Home. H must stand for Handwashing”

Kartik Chandrasekhar, Global Brand Vice President for Lifebuoy, said: “For more than a century, Lifebuoy has been on a mission to change handwashing behaviours. This Global Handwashing Day is paramount given the pandemic, and we’re reaffirming our commitment to this mission by working with education experts to create an unforgettable hand hygiene reminder to ensure that handwashing with soap becomes a lesson nobody forgets”.

The importance of handwashing with soap has been thrust into the global spotlight amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends washing hands with soap and water frequently .

The ‘H for Handwashing’ movement’s launch also coincides with a recent study in India  that found that children are especially key to transmitting the virus that causes Covid-19 in their households and communities.

Lifebuoy will therefore be leaning on its expertise on handwashing behaviour change among children, through its flagship programmes  that have been implemented with over 25 partners worldwide since it began. 

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