Kajol meets with Narendra Modi to discuss handwashing behaviour change
Discusses the need for handwashing facilities in schools and results-based handwashing behavior change programmes like 'Help A Child Reach 5'
Kajol Devgn, actor and Lifebuoy’s ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ handwashing ambassador and Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) met with Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to discuss the need for handwashing behaviour change and use of handwashing facilities in schools in India. They also discussed HUL’s work on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) behaviour change programme and the ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ handwashing campaign.
'Help a Child Reach 5' has been advocating for handwashing with soap as one of the most cost-effective means of preventing child deaths on platforms including the United Nations General Assembly. Kajol has been actively advocating for a hygiene indicator to be included within the Sustainable Development (SDGs) so that countries can actively measure its progress.
Inclusion of an indicator in SDGs on handwashing is a victory for public health, and governments worldwide will now take ownership of the SDGs for their respective countries. Kajol advocated for handwashing behaviour change coupled with handwashing facilities, particularly in schools, to realize the full potential of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
Mr. Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director, HUL, said, "We have shared with Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi the work that Hindustan Unilever has done within WASH including 'Help a Child Reach 5'. We will use our mass communication campaign 'Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat' to drive behaviour change reaching out to one in five Indians by 2020. By working in collaboration with ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’, I truly believe that we will be able to reach out and positively impact crores of people across the country."
Speaking about her association with 'Help a Child Reach 5' campaign, Kajol said, "As a mother and an actor, I am proud to be associated with a campaign that stresses on the importance of handwashing behaviour change to prevent needless child deaths. I am delighted that a handwashing indicator has been included in the SDGs. I am inspired by the Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and I believe that ensuring that all schools have presence and use of handwashing facilities in schools will help make hygiene a reality for children across India."
India has the highest number of child deaths from diarrhoea and pneumonia globally – with over six lakh child deaths each year from such preventable diseases. Handwashing with soap can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by nearly half and respiratory infections by a quarter. 'Help a Child Reach 5' campaign has been scaled to 28 countries by Lifebuoy reaching out to 33.7 crore people globally out of which 6.5 crore are schoolchildren and mothers in India.
One of the critical pillars of making Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan a success is behaviour change, which complements the efforts to create access to hygiene sanitation for all. HUL will contribute by using its communication skills to positively influence behaviours, and 'Haath Mooh Bum' and 'Help a Child Reach 5' are good examples of this.
HUL's sustainability programmes include rural education, urban slum programmes and water conservation (conducted by Hindustan Unilever Foundation) initiatives across the country.