15 October 2017
Every year, 1.4 million children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday because of diarrhoea and pneumonia. Millions more miss out on school due to these illnesses, reducing their opportunities to fulfil their potential.
Simple handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to help prevent these diseases. In fact, better health and improved hand-washing can lead to a 40 per cent increase in school attendance and a significant reduction in dangerous infections and illnesses.
In 2016, WAGGGS joined in partnership with Lifebuoy, Unilever’s leading health soap brand. Together, we developed a version of Lifebuoy’s already successful ‘School of 5’ programme just for Guides and Scouts, and have now launched a pilot to deliver the programme with The Bharat Scouts and Guides in India.
The School of 5 programme is a four-week experience, where girls and boys learn from a group of ‘School of 5’ superheroes, with Girl Guide Sparkle, who will save the world through handwashing with soap. Fun activities, games and experiments teach the practice of washing hands at five key occasions making this simple behaviour an everyday habit through reinforcement, commitment and reward.
There is a strong community focus too, encouraging Guides and Scouts to take a lead within their communities and make an impact through teaching handwashing with soap. Each child is asked to share the practices they learn with approximately 10 others they know. Every leader in The Bharat Scouts and Guides running the programme is trained by experts; learning to pass on the knowledge to their own communities that handwashing with soap at key occasions prevents infections and saves lives.
Over 1000 Guide and Scout leaders have been trained so far in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh states. They have shown passion and commitment to the importance of handwashing with soap. There has been some excellent feedback from leaders who have taken part in the training:
M. D Jadhav – Chhatrapati Shivaji School, Pravara
I truly feel that this programme will definitely bring a huge change in the community at large. I really like that school teachers like us are delivering the message and since we are the delivery agents to our Guides and Scouts, the message holds more credibility.
Anita Shinde , Master Trainer – DOC Ahmednagar
Being a District officer I can see so much enthusiasm amongst teachers about this programme, initially they were quite sceptical about a formal training only on something as basic as handwashing but most definitely I can see a lot of change in their own behaviour towards the programme! The training sessions have been great, and I am sure we will see a lot of change in the schools soon.
Sangeeta Landge, Unit Leader – Khedgaon School
This is the first time I have trained people for a behaviour change programme and on something we never thought was of grave importance. I have certainly seen a change in teachers’ attitudes towards hand washing which is good and once they are convinced about the mission, their students will receive it well. What I like about the programme is it is very student centric and the fact that we will be reinforcing the message for 21 days is something unique and I am looking forward to seeing a change.
DG Bhor, District Organizing Commissioner, Ahmednagar
We feel very strongly about this cause and certainly this project has the potential to change the attitude of not just schools but the community at large. We do face challenges in some schools where there is no running water or proper infrastructure but making teachers the change agents will be pretty beneficial.
GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY
15 October marks the 10th anniversary of Global Handwashing Day. In celebration of this day, WAGGGS is supporting Lifebuoy’s #High5forHandwashing campaign. For every photo that is uploaded to Twitter and Instagram featuring people High 5ing for what’s important to them along with the hashtag #High5forHandwashing, Lifebuoy will educate 5 children about proper handwashing. Please join our partner Lifebuoy as we celebrate #High5forHandwashing together!