This week the Gauteng Deputy Director General of Education, Vuyani Mpofu and Unilever South Africa CEO Luc-Olivier Marquet, together with key stakeholders, visited Mikateka Primary School in Midrand to conduct a classroom tour where they joined children taking part in lessons for the newly implemented National Schools Hygiene and Sanitation Programme.
Last year Unilever and the Department of Basic Education announced a five year partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide hygiene education to every grade one learner in the government school system. This initiative was in response to the need for improved hygiene and sanitation habits in schools to prevent children from falling ill and missing out on valuable school days.
Visitors to the school on Tuesday witnessed the learners as they took part in lessons teaching healthy handwashing habits with Lifebuoy, proper oral hygiene habits with Mentadent and proper toilet hygiene with Domestos.
Gauteng Deputy Director General of Education, Vuyani Mpofu said of the visit, “It is truly encouraging to see our learners receiving this valuable education. The programme seems to be resonating well with the children so far and they are enjoying the format, which includes songs, pledges and other engaging activities. We look forward to seeing the impact of these lessons in our schools, where we hope to see more healthy children and improved attendance.”
The programme is being implemented in class by teachers through a proven behaviour change model, with product provision from Unilever to enable the practise of improved hygiene habits by children.
“We are really pleased with what we saw today in the classrooms. This model has been tested through similar programmes throughout Africa and the world and it is always great to see how well the children respond to the lessons,” said Unilever South Africa CEO Luc-Olivier Marquet, “We are excited to say that the we are currently working on plans to make the programme content available to even more South Africans which will be happening in the next four to six weeks.”
Mikateka Primary School Principal, Mr Mandla Sibanyoni, said, “We are very excited to see this programme starting in our school. The children are responding very well to the lessons and I look forward to seeing the results of these important lessons.”
South Africans can pledge their support to the programme between now and the end of June by purchasing participating Unilever products at selected SPAR stores. When you purchase Domestos, Lifebuoy or Mentadent products from participating SPAR stores Unilever will give R2 to help more schools complete the National Schools Hygiene Programme.
Desmond Borrageiro, the MD of SPAR North Rand expressed, “SPAR is really excited to partner with Unilever in the National Schools Hygiene Program which demonstrates what can be done when we work collectively for our community and our children. This fits perfectly with our values as a company as we have always been passionate about making a difference in the communities we serve.”
“The reality is that the small purchasing decisions we make every day, can have a big impact on our society. Every purchase of these Unilever products helps us to continue this very worthwhile project and improve the lives and education of the future leaders of our country,” said Marquet.