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Lifebuoy empowers young girls to become handwashing champions

Driving change, improving hygiene and changing lives

In India, many children under the age of five die due to preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. The simple act of handwashing with soap can avert many of these deaths. Handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective ways to save a child’s life.

At a recent event held in Mumbai, our health soap brand Lifebuoy in partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) announced an initiative to empower young girls. Through this partnership girl guides and scouts will become handwashing heroes and would teach the lifesaving habit of handwashing with soap within their local communities. Each handwashing hero is trained on the importance of using soap while washing hands before eating and after using the toilet. They are also equipped with the necessary skills to share these learnings with other people they know. In this way, the practice of using soap at critical occasions is encouraged to spread across communities protecting people from illnesses and infections. Over 1,200 girl guides and scouts have been trained so far under this partnership.

During the event, Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director, HUL along with Samir Singh, Executive Vice President, Global Skin Cleansing, Unilever and Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 handwashing ambassador, Kajol Devgn came together to recognise and award these handwashing heroes for being the real agents of behaviour change. It is estimated that these handwashing heroes will positively impact about 4 million people.

Sanjiv Mehta said, “We believe that companies like HUL have a key role in helping the country achieve ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. More than 90% of households in India use HUL products. This gives us an opportunity and a responsibility to make a meaningful difference. We are convinced that we can achieve this, leveraging our expertise in behaviour change programmes in the areas of handwashing and sanitation and our experience in developing and delivering innovative partnership models.”

Samir Singh said, “I feel proud to see Lifebuoy’s handwashing movement Help A Child Reach 5 go to the next level through this partnership with WAGGGS. One of our biggest learnings has been that children have in them the abilities to drive behaviour change. Through this partnership, Lifebuoy is unleashing the potential of young girls, who shall be empowered to transform the health of entire communities. We started in a small village called Thesgora in Madhya Pradesh in 2013 with the highest rates of diarrhoea and were able to showcase remarkable results owing to a focussed handwashing intervention. We hope that this partnership with WAGGGS will help us push the envelope further with communities and families adapting healthy handwashing habits through these incredible handwashing heroes.”

Ana Maria Mideros, WAGGGS’ World Board Chair, said “At the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, we know that every girl has the power and potential to learn, lead and make a positive change in her community and the wider world. We are hugely proud that our partnership with Lifebuoy is helping young people in India to take action and promote handwashing with soap - both at home and in their wider communities. Working with Lifebuoy, Girl Guides and Scouts are driving change, improving hygiene and changing lives.”

Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 Handwashing Ambassador Kajol Devgn said, “As a mother and a woman I am really excited about this partnership with WAGGGS. What inspired me the most was how these girl heroes are determined and passionate about making a difference in the lives of others by educating people on basic hygiene practices such as handwashing. We need many more such young heroes to help address some easily preventable health and hygiene issues.”

About Hindustan Unilever:

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India's largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods company with its products touching the lives of nine out of ten households in India. HUL works to create a better future every day.

About WAGGGS:

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls and young women in the world. This diverse movement represents ten million girls and young women from 150 countries.

For more than 100 years Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting has transformed the lives of girls and young women worldwide, supporting and empowering them to achieve their fullest potential and become responsible citizens of the world.

About Help A Child Reach 5

Handwashing with soap saves lives. Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 campaign aims to eradicate preventable deaths from diseases and illnesses like diarrhoea, by teaching lifesaving handwashing habits.

About Lifebuoy

As the world’s leading health soap, Lifebuoy aims to make a difference by creating accessible hygiene products (soap) and promoting healthy hygiene habits. With this in mind, Lifebuoy aims to impact the handwashing behaviour of one billion people. Since 2010 Lifebuoy has impacted the handwashing behaviour of 378 million people across 30 countries. For more information, please visit www.lifebuoy.com

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