Sunday, April 07, 2013

Water, Sanitation for Urban Poor: 550,000 Children Hygiene Behaviours Changed


Source: WSUP

A new water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project that seeks to educate 550,000 (five hundred and fifty thousand) children in Accra and Kumasi about the essence of washing their hands with soap and water at all times is set to be rolled out soon.

The program takes cognisance that handwashing with soap and water is touted as major tool in fighting communicable and respiratory diseases.

It targets mothers as they play a crucial role of encouraging their child to adopt the habit, and it targets children because they are known to be early adopters of new habits. The theory is that habits, once ingrained in a child’s formative stages of life, can become a way of life for them; children also play the role of habit carriers to influence the rest of the family. The partnership is between WSUP and UNILEVER Ghana Limited.

A statement from WSUP and signed by the Country Programme Manager, Musah Issaka Balima to commemorate this year’s water day indicated, “The collaboration between Lifebuoy and WSUP is built around shared interests for in hand washing. This partnership will also strengthen the collaboration between local civil society, private sector and city corporations forged through cooperation on large scale hygiene promotion”.

Read Full Statement

The Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) on this World Water Day, March 22, 2013, to highlight the powerful impact of cross-sector collaboration, Unilever Ghana through its Hygiene brand Lifebuoy, and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) are announcing a partnership aimed at changing the hygiene behaviours of up to 550,000 students in Greater Accra and Kumasi.

The Lifebuoy ‘School of 5’ Program aims to educate and train school children, aged 6-12, and their mothers on the importance of hand washing with soap. The campaign promotes the adoption of a conscious habit of washing hands with soap at five key occasions in the day; before eating breakfast, lunch and supper, after going to the toilet, and while bathing. Through creative cartoon elements which will cause excitement among children, the campaign seeks to encourage an interactive environment in which to discuss hand washing, and thus improve hygiene and health. Unilever believes that through brands like Lifebuoy, it can help and inspire billions of consumers to take small everyday actions like handwashing with soap, that can add up to a big difference for the world, and WSUP supports this initiative.

Over the course of the year, the ‘School of 5’ Program will be jointly implemented by WSUP and Lifebuoy in approximately 2,800 schools across urban and peri-urban areas of the districts of Greater Accra and Kumasi. The strategy is to increase hygiene behaviours, and in particular the practice of hand washing with soap, through the behaviour change steps of awareness, commitment, reinforcement and reward/recognition.

The collaboration between Lifebuoy and WSUP is built around shared interests for in hand washing. This partnership will also strengthen the collaboration between local civil society, private sector and city corporations forged through cooperation on large scale hygiene promotion.

Together, WSUP and Lifebuoy have already improved the hygiene behaviours of over 1,130,000 mothers and school children in Ghana, Kenya, Bangladesh and Zambia through the ‘School of 5’ Program.

About WSUP

WSUP is a non-profit partnership between the private sector, NGOs and research institutions focused on solving the global problem of inadequate water and sanitation in low-income urban communities.

It achieves this through supporting the adoption and replication of effective, sustainable and scalable models of pro-poor urban water and sanitation services by service providers and/or national governments. WSUP empowers service providers to demonstrate effective models in order to mobilise investments for further improvements and promotes successful approaches internationally. WSUP has a strategic portfolio of six countries in Africa and South Asia.

The overall impact of this is the reduction of poverty and the improvement of health and living standards for the urban poor. WSUP believes access to safe, affordable water, improved sanitation and improved hygiene practices underpin poverty reduction through impacts on health, education and livelihoods and improving access to these fundamentals of life are a critical step towards reducing poverty. As such, WSUP’s work directly contributes to the attainment of the MDG goals.

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