Help a child reach 5

Every year, in India alone, 1.3 million children die before they reach the age of five, many due to preventable infections. Handwashing with soap, particularly after using toilet, can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by over 40% and respiratory infections by 30%.

Project

The Lifebuoy 'Help a Child Reach 5' on-ground handwashing behaviour change programme was started in 2013 in Thesgora, a village in Madhya Pradesh that has one of the highest rates of child diarrhoea in India. This programme created a significant impact, with mothers reporting reduction in incidence of diarrhoea from 36% to 5%, and 26% more children washing their hands before meals.

During the same year, we piloted the handwashing programme in two districts of Bihar – Begusarai and Khagaria, reaching out to nearly one million people in partnership with Bihar government and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF). We scaled up the programme to cover more districts in Bihar and reach out to more number of people. This time, Lifebuoy took its message to new mothers, building awareness and improving hand hygiene habits during the crucial first 28 days after delivery, when mothers and their babies need it the most.

To support the behaviour change campaign, we launched a film ‘Chamki’ that showcases the emotional journey of a pregnant woman who is excited at the prospect of being a mother. Her excitement is contrasted with the agony and doubt about her child’s survival post birth. She ponders whether her child will survive or will meet the fate of those other children in her village who succumbed to diarrhoea and pneumonia in the first few weeks of their birth.

Impact

As a part of the on-ground programme in Bihar, around 600 health promoters trained by us visit government rural primary schools in Bihar four times in a 21-day period to engage with students. In 2015 alone, over four lakh children were covered under the programme, while since inception, the programme has reached over six lakh children. Over the next three years, 45 million people are expected to benefit through this programme in partnership with CIFF and Government of Bihar.

The film 'Chamki' received 14 million views on YouTube and was the most viewed advertisement on YouTube in 2015.

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