For 14 years now, the Dove Self-Esteem Project (DSEP) has helped more than 20 million young people across the globe to develop a positive relationship with the way they look by encouraging conversations with women and young girls, addressing issues of beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Dove is striving to reach its goal of impacting 40 million young people by 2020 with positive self-esteem messaging through DSEP.
Dove has partnered with leading experts in the fields of psychology, health, and body image to create a programme of evidence-based resources including parenting advice to help young people form healthy friendships and overcome body image issues.
According to educational psychologist and DSEP partner, Dr Tshepiso Matentjie, talking to a young person about beauty, confidence and self-esteem can change the way they see themselves for a lifetime. From learning how to interpret destructive messages in the media to helping young people navigate toxic friendships at school, the DSEP programme provides free, accredited educational tools and resources addressing today’s biggest barriers to self-esteem that anyone can use to have a positive conversation with the young person in their life.
Luc-Olivier Marquet, Executive Vice President, Unilever South Africa adds that, “The DSEP is an initiative at the heart of Dove’s brand identity which is underpinned in the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP). This is a blueprint for achieving our vision to grow the business, whilst decoupling our environmental footprint from our growth and increasing the positive social impact of our business. It is a foundation for driving growth through brands with purpose, taking out costs from their business, reducing risks and helping them build trust. Dove is such a brand, he concludes.”
To bring this home, Dove has joined forces with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to work towards the common goal of fully equipping young people with localised educational tools that will help them to ultimately realise their full potential – raising the next generation of strong, confident young people.
Prefaced by International Day of the Girl Child, a workshop with learners, key media and stakeholders was held in Johannesburg on 19th October to unpack ways in which parents, guardians and teachers alike can assist young people with self-esteem issues, while practically demonstrating the syllabus, interacting with one another and the sharing of self-esteem journeys.
One of the means identified by the team to carry out the work of building self-esteem has been to encourage intergenerational dialogues between South Africans across varied race, age and class groupings. This, says Sphelele Mjadu, Senior Public Relations Manager – Unilever Beauty and Personal Care for Africa “reinforces the need for everybody to take shared responsibility for offering long-term and sustainable solutions to some of the issues faced by young people.
We are dedicated to helping the next generation raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential. These conversations are already happening, but today Dove brings a much-needed spotlight for all South Africans to address the difficulties and share the successes they experience in their own personal stories. We are at a turning point in South Africa, but we want to give hope to the next generation and let them know that they are not alone and that their self-esteem can only be defined by them.”
This has culminated in the announcement of the partnership with the DBE geared to speak to Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which focuses on improving the quality of education.
“Programmes to expose learners at the earliest stages of primary school to different various tools and resources should be supported, which is why we’re so excited to work with Unilever, through its brand, Dove, to equip learners emotionally; helping them to stay in school, build resilience to life’s adversities and aspire to be more despite these challenges,” said Minister Angie Motshekga. Through these proactive measures, issues pertaining to sexuality, alcohol and violence, education and mentorship, sexual and reproductive health and career guidance can be addressed and alleviated.
With so much work to be done, there’s room for everybody to get involved in and partner with the . Resources are on hand at to assist parents and teachers, individuals and professionals alike to ensure that low body confidence and anxieties over appearance don’t stop young people from being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships and even performance at school. Over 20 million young people have benefited from this