It’s Global Handwashing Day, so what better time for Lifebuoy – the world’s No.1 hygiene soap brand* – to kickstart its new movement called ‘H for Handwashing’.

It takes inspiration from UNICEF’s childhood development research which demonstrates that the right support and interventions in the early years of life can significantly boost child development, helping them to grow, learn and thrive.

The new movement uses this research to focus on how, for generations, children have been taught letters of the alphabet through simple associations with everyday references such as ‘A’ for apple, ‘B’ for ball and ‘C’ for cat. Starting this month, Lifebuoy wants to fundamentally change the way the letter ‘H’ is taught.

No longer will ‘H’ stand for horse, hat or even home. ‘H’ must stand for Handwashing.

The €30 million, multi-year campaign – which is principally aimed at pre-school, primary school kids and adolescents (spanning ages 2–17) – will involve co-creating programmes with education, health, humanitarian and behaviour-change experts to integrate good hygiene practices.

“For more than a century, Lifebuoy has been on a mission to change handwashing behaviours,” says Kartik Chandrasekhar, Lifebuoy’s Global Brand VP. “We’re reaffirming our commitment by working with education experts to create an unforgettable hand hygiene reminder to ensure that handwashing with soap becomes a lesson nobody forgets.”

Bringing the movement to life

In collaboration with the Global Handwashing Partnership, Lifebuoy has set up the ‘H for Handwashing’ resource page. It’s accessible to everyone and will enable NGOs, governments, schools, teachers, pupils and the public to join the movement.

Lifebuoy will also partner with a range of organisations including Sesame Street and Save the Children. In collaboration with the Sesame Workshop, the brand will create premium educational storytelling for children and caregivers. This content will be aimed at – and distributed to – families across Asia and Africa in 2021.

Commenting on the partnership, Gwen Hine, Executive Director of Global Programmes at humanitarian organisation Save the Children, says: “We look forward to collaborating on this important initiative to embed positive health, nutrition and hygiene behaviours during children’s early years, working alongside communities, health workers and educators.”

The pandemic has put a spotlight on handwashing

The importance of handwashing with soap has been thrust into the global spotlight amid the ongoing pandemic.

That’s why, in March, we started working with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) to fund a global programme called the Hygiene & Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC).

The HBCC represents a £100 million contribution to raising awareness on the importance of handwashing and good hygiene among the world’s most vulnerable populations, particularly against the backdrop of the global pandemic.

It’s amazing what you can achieve in a day

Global Handwashing Day is dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap to prevent diseases and save lives. Now its 12th year, the day was co-founded by Lifebuoy and the Global Handwashing Partnership.

Each year, Global Handwashing Day is celebrated by over 200 million people in more than 100 countries. Last year saw one of the largest brand activations yet for Lifebuoy, reaching more than 25 million people through digital and over 3.4 million children through school visits.

“At Lifebuoy, we have championed handwashing for over a decade, by running the world’s largest behaviour-change programme that has reached over 1 billion** people,” says Samir Singh, our Global EVP for Skin Cleansing and Oral Care.

“Starting this October, we are advocating for greater emphasis on hand hygiene education through a movement to fundamentally change the way the alphabet is taught – H must stand for Handwashing.”

Simple ways you can get involved

To support this year’s Global Handwashing Day and be part of Lifebuoy’s ‘H for Handwashing’ movement, you can:

  • Follow @Lifebuoysoap on Instagram. Select the #HforHandwashing filter to create your own unique video.
  • Share Lifebuoy’s educational resources with your family and friends.

* Calculation based on Nielsen unit sales information for the total markets (approximately 40 countries), for the latest 12-month period. Details available at Lifebuoy.com.

** Since 2010, we have reached 1.07 billion people (486 million people through on-ground programmes and 587 million through TV reach) through our handwashing programmes. The evidence that TV drives handwashing behaviour change comes from a proof of principles study in India. TV reach is reported for nine key markets using 2017 as a representative year.

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