Global Handwashing day's fifth birthday

On 15 October 2012 Unilever will be celebrating Global Handwashing Day’s fifth birthday in schools and communities across the world.

Lifebuoy to help millions of children through global handwashing day

school girls washing their hands together

Through our Lifebuoy brand, which co-founded Global Handwashing Day in 2008, we’ll be helping to spread the message about the importance of handwashing with soap and make it a lifesaving habit.

Together with Lifebuoy’s numerous partners, on Global Handwashing Day millions of people will be reached in over 100 countries through handwashing activities and media campaigns.

Simple effective inervention

Since Global Handwashing Day was founded five years ago, the number of children dying from diarrhoea each year has halved – that’s 1.1 million lives saved.

However, 3,000 children under the age of five still die every day from diarrhoea alone, making it the second most common cause of child mortality worldwide.

There is a simple way to cut the number of deaths further. “Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and low cost ways to prevent diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia,” said Myriam Sidibe, Lifebuoy Global Social Mission Director.

“We know from clinical research that handwashing with soap at key occasions can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by up to approximately 45%. That means that handwashing with soap could help over 600,000 children reach their fifth birthday every year.”

Pledging your support

Building on last year’s campaign, the Lifebuoy brand and its partners are asking you to play a part in Global Handwashing Day by pledging your support on Facebook to help a child reach their fifth birthday.

With each pledge, Unilever will teach a child hygiene education, helping to stop the spread of preventable illnesses and cut the number of schooldays missed through illness.

Wherever you are in the world, you can help to spread the handwashing message by sharing Lifebuoy’s handwashing video with your family and friends, and use Lifebuoy’s simple downloadable guide to help a child to learn a lifelong – and lifesaving – habit.

Join us in making a difference

Through its Hygiene Education programmes in 2010-2011, Lifebuoy has changed the handwashing behaviour of 48 million people.

This year, through the continuation of programmes and activities such as Global Handwashing Day, Unilever will reach many millions more as part of its sustainable living goals.

These aim to help more than one billion people improve their hygiene habits and make a positive difference to their health and wellbeing by 2020.

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