Partnerships are vital in scaling-up lifesaving programmes. One great example is the global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap ( PPPHW) established in 2001. A coalition of international stakeholders, including Unilever’s Lifebuoy, whose focus is on handwashing and child health. Each year on 15 October, over 200 million people are involved in the celebration of Global Handwashing Day in over 100 countries around the world. In addition, Lifebuoy works with for example global partners such as The Earth Institute and PSI to implement its handwashing behaviour change programmes across the world, teaching children, new mothers and community leaders this lifesaving habit.Lifebuoy has a proven model for handwashing behaviour change and has now launched its Help a Child Reach 5 handwashing campaign to improve the health of Thesgora, a village with one of the highest rates of diarrhoea in India. Lifebuoy won’t stop at Thesgora – the brand wants to expand its life-saving mission, village by village. The campaign won’t stop until child mortality due to diarrhoea is eliminated. Kajol, award-winning Bollywood actress and Help a Child Reach 5 Lifebuoy advocate, said: “Here at the UN Summit, policymakers and governments have an opportunity to look at what needs to happen if we are to hit the child mortality reduction target by 2015. I urge those discussing the outcome and recommendations of this summit to ensure that handwashing with soap gets the recognition it needs as the most cost-effective policy we have at our disposal to achieve child mortality reduction under five by two-thirds by 2015.” Note for the editors: Results of Lifebuoy partnership’s with Millennium Villages Project and PSI: In 2012, the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) and Unilever launched a new partnership to promote handwashing with soap to nearly 500,000 people in 80 rural villages and to strengthen Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives throughout the Millennium Villages. A preliminary evaluation of Lifebuoy’s handwashing behaviour change programme in the Bonsaaso Millennium Village cluster in Ghana demonstrates the effectiveness of the programme in sub-Saharan Africa.
- There was a significant, 22%, increase in handwashing among School of 5 children compared to control children.
- Their average length of handwashing with soap was also much longer and, together with frequency increase, meant they spent 40% longer washing their hands each day.
- There seems to be a spill-over into the household as well. The parents of the School of 5 children used 18% more soap than the Control.*
- The partnership will reach over 1 million people in Kenya and Zimbabwe by the end of this year.
- Across the intervention schools in Harare there was an increase in handwashing with soap behaviour among students, from 8% at pre intervention to 74% at the end.
- In Likoni district in Kenya, students, in public schools, using only water to handwash, reduced from 62% to 26%.
*Unilever study done in an MVP site (Bonsaaso cluster, Ghana)