Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
8 Nov 2016
5:24 pm

High five to a bright future

Citizen Reporter

This year, for Global Handwashing Day, Unilever and Lifebuoy celebrated the life-saving habit of handwashing with children and parents at M.C. Weiler Primary School in Alexandra.

Image supplied.

“Global Handwashing Day provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the fact that Lifebuoy has reached over 337 million people across 28 countries with its behaviour change programmes. We are proud that no other brand has touched more lives with this important message,” said Unilever South Africa’s Senior Vice President, Peter Cowan,

“To date, Lifebuoy has educated over 11 million South Africans, including over 2 million children in 4000 schools. We are happy to add another 1500 children to those figures today with the first graduates of our Unilever brightFuture Integrated Schools programme.”

The programme will allow Unilever to increase the impact of Lifebuoy’s incredibly successful School of 5 programme and replicate it with our other leading brands. This week, another 30 000 schoolchildren will start the Unilever brightFuture Schools Programme, beginning with the healthy habit of handwashing with Lifebuoy.

Global Handwashing Day, a UNICEF-affiliated global advocacy day that takes place annually on the 15th of October, is celebrated by over 200 million people in more than 100 countries around the world, and aims to highlight the importance of handwashing with soap as a potentially lifesaving habit.

There are over 2.5 million children in Africa alone who won’t reach the age of five due, in many cases, to preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea and respiratory disease. Furthermore, over 40% of these deaths occur within the first 28 days of a child’s life, in the neonatal period1. To ensure every child has the opportunity to reach five and enjoy a happy and healthy bright future, Lifebuoy is committed to spreading its behaviour change message.

Through its School of 5 and neonatal programmes, Lifebuoy aims to demonstrate that visibly clean isn’t always hygienically clean and how a simple and affordable practise such as washing hands with soap and running water, especially at the five key occasions before preparing and eating meals, after using the bathroom and during bathing – can help prevent the spread of disease and save lives.

In preparation for Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy released its latest ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ video, which highlights a real life experiment showcasing how handwashing education can change lives especially in vulnerable communities.

Global Handwashing Day shines the spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world, with the aim to foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap. Lifebuoy is spearheading this year’s efforts with #High5forHandwashing to raise awareness and instil the habit of handwashing with soap to help more children reach their fifth birthday.

At M.C Weiler Primary, the schoolchildren were awarded certificates for their completion of the Unilever brightFuture Schools Programme and, as agents for change, they then taught their parents, media and special guests what they had learned by demonstrating the correct handwashing method.

When children understand and believe in a message, they are vigilant and enthusiastic about sharing it with everyone in their lives. In a case like this, the simple act of handwashing with soap has the power to change the lives of an entire community because of the children that will share this message with such conviction.