HUL reaches over 2 million children with its Swachh Aadat Curriculum
Reports from UNICEF1 tell us that almost half of India’s children under five years of age fall ill frequently. Lack of hygiene is one of the principal causes of stunting and other illnesses in children. The onset of the global pandemic has made it critical than ever for children to be equipped with the right WASH education.
As an extension of its mission to make sustainable living a commonplace, Hindustan Unilever has launched the ‘Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat’ (SASB) program in 2018.
Introducing the Swachh Aadat Curriculum
One of the prominent initiatives under the SASB program is the Swachh Aadat curriculum through which HUL aims to improve overall health and well-being and reduce the disease burden of the country.
It is a 21 day curriculum based on the model of behaviour change and has been instrumental in guiding children in the age group of 5 – 10 years to be agents of change. The content is designed by experts in the field of children’s education and covers the importance of the three essential WASH habits: washing hands at 5 important occasions during the day, drinking boiled or filtered water, and using toilets for defecation.
To make the curriculum interesting, a wide range of activities, games, and characters such as Chamatkari Sonu (a superhero) and Kitabyutor (kitab + computer) are used in a fun and engaging manner. Students are taught either through books or e-textbooks for approximately 20 minutes a day. They are encouraged to not just learn for themselves, but to also bring about a sanitation revolution in their communities.
The content is easily adaptable to support online and in-classroom learning models and also includes a training module for the teachers.
Since 2018, through the Swachh Aadat Curriculum, HUL has reached out to over 2 million children across India which include 11 districts in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and government schools in Mumbai, Chandrapur, Gujarat and Uttarakhand, showing strong results.
Young Shweta’s perseverance sets an example
The Swachh Aadat Curriculum was introduced in Zilla Parishad, a primary school, in the Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. The teachings of the curriculum struck a chord with Shweta Rangari, a Class IV student. Young Shweta and her family did not have a toilet. When Shweta learnt about the importance of the three clean habits in her school curriculum, she insisted that her father constructed a toilet at home.
She refused to attend school until her demand was met. Her father Pandit Rangari, a daily wage earner, was convinced and built a toilet. Her school teacher, classmates and the villagers appreciated her determination.
Shweta Rangari says, “When I learnt about the benefits of using a toilet in the Swachh Aadat Curriculum, I decided not to go back to school till a toilet was built at home.”
Today, Shweta’s efforts have inspired many children in her village to build toilets inside their homes.
Through the Swachh Aadat curriculum, HUL aims to create a generation of Indians that grow up understanding the importance of hygiene.