Unilever, through its health soap Lifebuoy, today launched its’ biggest campaign yet celebrating 10 years of Global Handwashing Day (GHD), a day that sees millions of people all over the world recognising the importance of handwashing with soap and raising awareness on its life-saving impact.
At St. Camillus Primary School in Hammanskraal today, Lifebuoy and the Department of Basic Education commemorated Global Handwashing Day by washing the hands of the 700 000th child in 2018 to be educated on handwashing for hygiene through the new National Schools Hygiene and Sanitation Programme.
The programme is part of a 5 year partnership between Unilever and the Department of Basic Education and is being implemented by teachers in 15 000 South African schools, teaching grade 1 learners lessons on handwashing for hygiene from Lifebuoy, toilet hygiene habits from Domestos and oral hygiene from Mentadent P.
“At the very heart of the Lifebuoy brand is a desire to improve the health and well-being of its consumers. Lifebuoy was created as a germ-fighting soap in 1894 to tackle the cholera epidemic in Victorian London. Since then the brand has always focused on the benefits it can bring to society. This is why Lifebuoy is a great example of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan in action, demonstrating that brands can, and should, make every effort to combine business success with benefits to the communities they serve,” said Unilever Africa President, Bruno Witvoet.
As the world's leading health soap brand, Lifebuoy is committed to saving lives through handwashing education and is on a mission to improve the handwashing behaviour of one billion people by 2020, as part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Since 2010, Lifebuoy has impacted over 426 million people across 30 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America including over 11 million South Africans.
The event in Hammanskraal saw Lifebuoy teaming up with the Department of Education and Department of Health, who celebrated with over 1000 learners and around 500 parents from St Camillus Primary. Grade 1 learners whom had taken part in the Schools Programme demonstrated what they had learned for their parents and Department of Health officials demonstrated correct handwashing before the guests were addressed by School Principal, Mr Maphayi; Acting DDG: Primary Health Care, Ms APR Cele from the Department of Health; Unilever Africa President, Bruno Witvoet and DDG: Education Support, Mr V Mpofu from the Gauteng Department of Education.
Mr Mpofu addressed the learners and parents saying, “We are here today as government to ensure that the issue of school health takes its place in the education sector…..It’s important that we promote issues of health, a healthy nation is a successful nation. We always say to learners it’s better to prevent than to cure…..Our learners are taught about the prevention of diseases, if we do that, it means there will be less people in hospital.”
Also attending the event was DJ Zinhle, whom South Africans will have seen in the new Lifebuoy TV commercial and has been announced as the new brand ambassador. She and Unilever Africa President Bruno Witvoet together with Mr V Mpofu The Deputy Director General from the Gauteng Department of Education, shared a symbolic High 5 before handing over a donation of new washbasins for St Camillus School today, which they hope will allow the learners to practice the handwashing habits they learned at school on the 5 key occasions.
“First and foremost I am a mother of a young child, whom I love very much and like most mothers, I am very concerned about my child’s hygiene,” said DJ Zinhle, “I would be devastated if my child’s future were to be robbed by preventable infections. I believe celebrities need to lend their voice to causes that help build and strengthen our communities. That is why I have partnered with Lifebuoy. I hope to rally all South Africans to change the way we approach hygiene. Let’s celebrate GHD by helping to spread the lifesaving message of handwashing with soap.”
Unilever through its Lifebuoy brand co-founded Global Handwashing Day (GHD) in 2008 with the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) alongside UNICEF, P&G, USAID, the World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Academy for Educational Development. The Global Handwashing Partnership is a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.
Over the last 10 years, Lifebuoy’s GHD campaign has positively reached out to tens of millions of people across more than 30 countries. This Global Handwashing Day, follow @Lifebuoy_ZA on Facebook or Twitter and share a High 5 on one of the GHD posts to pledge your support or share one of the Lifebuoy posts with #High5ForHandwashing. For every High 5 received, Lifebuoy will educate 5 children on handwashing for hygiene.