Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL’s) health soap brand Lifebuoy has announced a new initiative to empower young girls to make a difference in their own communities through a partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Kajol, Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 ambassador, introduced the young girl guides who will be handwashing heroes and spread the message of handwashingto over 4 million people, helping prevent illness.
The partnership aims toencourage girl guides and scouts to take a lead within their communities and make an impact through teaching the lifesaving habit of handwashing with soap. Each handwashing hero is trained on the importance of using soap while washing hands before eating and after using the toilet. They are also equipped with the necessary skills to share these learnings with other people they know. In this way, the practice of using soap at critical occasions is encouraged to spread across communities protecting people from illnesses and infections. Over 1,200 girl guides and scouts have been trained so far under this partnership.
During the event, Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director, HUL along with Samir Singh, Executive Vice President, Global Skin Cleansing, Unilever and Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 handwashing ambassador, Kajol Devgn came together to award these heroes for being the real agents of change for handwashing.
In India alone, diarrhoea and pneumonia killed more than 296,000 under-five children in 2015 . The simple act of handwashing with soap can prevent many of these deaths. Handwashingwith soap is one of the most cost-effective ways to save a child’s life.
Sanjiv Mehta, Managing Director and CEO, HUL, said: “We believe that companies like HUL have a key role in helping the country achieve ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. More than 90% of households in India use HUL products. This gives us an opportunity and a responsibility to make a meaningful difference. We are convinced that we can achieve this, leveraging our expertise in behaviour change programmes in the areas of handwashing and sanitation and our experience in developing and delivering innovative partnership models.”
Samir Singh, Executive Vice President, Global Skin Cleansing, Unilever, said“I feel proud to see Lifebuoy’s handwashing movement Help A Child Reach 5 go to the next level through this partnership with WAGGGS. One of our biggest learnings has been that children have in them the abilities to drive behaviour change. Through this partnership, Lifebuoy is unleashing the potential of young girls, who shall be empowered to transform the health of entire communities. We started in a small village called Thesgora in Madhya Pradeshin 2013 with the highest rates of diarrhoea and were able to showcase remarkable results owing to a focussed handwashing intervention. We hope that this partnership with WAGGGS will help us push the envelope further with communities and families adapting healthy handwashing habits through these incredible handwashing heroes.”
Ana Maria Mideros, WAGGGS’ World Board Chair, said“At the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, we know that every girl has the power and potential to learn, lead and make positive change in her community and the wider world. We are hugely proud that our partnership with Lifebuoy is helping young people in India to take action and promote hand washing with soap – both at home and in their wider communities. Working with Lifebuoy, Girl Guides and Scouts are driving change, improving hygiene and changing lives.”
Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 Handwashing Ambassador Kajol Devgn said, “As a mother and a woman I am really excited about this partnership with WAGGGS. What inspired me the most was how these girl heroes are determined and passionate about making a difference in the lives of others by educating people on basic hygiene practices such as handwashing. We need many more such young heroes to help address some easily preventable health and hygiene issues.”
A clinical trial led by Lifebuoy, involving 2,000 families in Mumbai, demonstrated a 25% reduction in the number of incidences of diarrhoea among children aged five and a 15% reduction in acute respiratory infection.
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For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Lifebuoy
About Help A Child Reach 5
Handwashing with soap saves lives. Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 campaign aims to eradicate preventable deaths from diseases and illnesses like diarrhoea, by teaching lifesaving handwashing habits.
As the world’s leading health soap, Lifebuoy aims to make a difference by creating accessible hygiene products (soap) and promoting healthy hygiene habits. With this in mind, Lifebuoy aims to impact the handwashing behaviour of one billion people. Since 2010 Lifebuoy has impactedthe handwashing behaviour of 378 million people across 30 countries.
For more information, please visit www.lifebuoy.com.
About Hindustan Unilever:
Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India’s largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods company with its products touching the lives of nine out of ten households in India. HUL works to create a better future every day.
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. Thisdiverse movement represents ten million girls and young women from 150 countries.
For more than 100 years Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has transformed the lives of girls and young women worldwide, supporting and empowering them to achieve their fullest potential and become responsible citizens of the world.
Notes to Editor
Unilever Sustainable Living Plan:At Unilever, our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace and our vision is to grow our business, whilst reducing our environmental footprint and increasing our positive social impact. This vision has been codified in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), launched in 2010, which is our blueprint for sustainable growth.
The Plan has three global goals:
- By 2020, help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being
- By 2030, halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products
- By 2020, enhance the livelihoods of millions of people
Lifebuoy behaviour change programmes: Diarrhoea killed 117,000 children under-5 each year in India in 2015. Handwashing with soap is proven to reduce the risk of diarrhoeal disease by up to 47% and pneumonia by 23%, the two biggest childkillers both in India and globally.
However, handwashing with soap is not practiced despite its proven effectiveness. Handwashing rates among mothers across India are low- after defecation (1%) and before handling food (11%). Rates are even lower for children. The challenge is to build handwashing habits at key health-related occasions: before eating and after toilet use.
HUL has used its expertise in consumer behaviour change and marketing to understand what motivates people and overcomes barriers. This has helped us to develop a behaviour change model that we apply to hygiene contexts to promote new behaviours around toilet use or handwashing. Through our Lifebuoy, Unilever aims to change the hygiene behaviour of 1 billion people globally by promoting the benefits of handwashing with soap at key times. Since 2010, Lifebuoy has reached 63 million people in India with its behaviour change programme which – through a combination of comics, songs, games and rewards – encourages children to sustain good handwashing behaviours. Lifebuoy has also developed an education programme to teach good handwashing practices to new mums during the critical neonatal period (first 28 days of a child’s life) when over 40% of child deaths take place.
UNICEF 2016. One is too many: Ending child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhoea. https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/UNICEF-Pneumonia-Diarrhoea-report2016-web-version.pdf
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