Dramatic results achieved by pioneering campaign in Indian village of Thesgora
Submitted by: Unilever
Posted: Apr 04, 2014 – 05:30 AM EST
LONDON, ROTTERDAM and MUMBAI, Apr. 04 /CSRwire/ - Unilever’s health soap Lifebuoy has announced the results of its ‘Help A Child Reach 5’ handwashing programmes launched in Thesgora, India, noting an overwhelming drop in the incidence of diarrhoea: from 36% to 5%.
The decrease in diarrhoea in this village – known for having one of the highest rates in India of this deadly yet preventable disease – was observed over the period of Lifebuoy’s intervention in an independent evaluation of 1485 households with children aged below 12 years, conducted by Nielsen in September 2013.
Lifebuoy’s ‘Help A Child Reach 5’ campaign aims to eradicate preventable deaths from diseases like diarrhoea through teaching lifesaving handwashing habits. The campaign was launched with an award winning film ”Gondappa” (www.youtube.com/helpachildreach5) and handwashing initiatives in Thesgora, a village in Madhya Pradesh.
The results achieved show that handwashing programmes have significant positive impact on both the handwashing behaviours and the health of a community. Lifebuoy’s handwashing programmes are now being rolled out to villages across 14 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Vietnam) and scaled up in India to reach 45 million people.
This adds to the ambitious goal of Unilever to help more than a billion people improve their hygiene habits by 2015. On 28 April this year, the Unilever Sustainable Living Report 2013 will be published, and it will confirm that Unilever has reached around 303 million people through its programmes of handwashing, safe drinking water, oral health and self-esteem.
Unilever’s health soap brand, Lifebuoy, puts its social purpose at the heart of its innovation and engagement with consumers. The Lifebuoy’s handwashing programmes are not only helping to change habits to combat disease – expert studies have shown that washing hands with soap at critical moments during the day can dramatically cut the incidence of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea. They are also driving volume growth in key markets. Lifebuoy has achieved three years of double-digit growth to become the world’s number one anti-bacterial brand.
Samir Singh, Lifebuoy’s Global Brand Vice President, explains, “Lifebuoy’s ‘Help A Child Reach 5’ campaign has demonstrated excellent results in Thesgora and we will now be scaling up this campaign globally. To date, Lifebuoy has impacted the handwashing behaviours of 183 million people in 14 countries and the results of our efforts so far prove that when a social mission is embedded into a successful brand’s core values, significant and indeed lifesaving change can happen fast.”
Worldwide, one child dies from diarrhoea or pneumonia every 15 seconds, amounting to 2.1 million deaths each year. Handwashing with soap is the most cost-effective way to prevent child deaths and contribute to Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4) towards reducing child mortality. Put simply, the simple but lifesaving act of handwashing with soap could help many more children reach the age of five.
More than 2.5 billion people still lack effective sanitation, good hygiene and safe drinking water. Tackling these issues can achieve a big impact on the diseases that cause ill health and cost lives. To achieve better health outcomes and lower costs Unilever will try to address all three together. Unilever has leading brands – Lifebuoy, Pureit and Domestos – that can make a difference in these three areas.
Next to the 183 million people reached by Lifebuoy’s handwashing programmes, Pureit is providing safe drinking water to 55 million people. Both brands have worked closely with others such as PSI, a Unilever Foundation partner. Domestos and the Unilever Foundation are partnering with UNICEF to scale up its Community Approaches to Total Sanitation programme.
For more information, visit Facebook.com/Lifebuoy.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home and Personal Care products with sales in over 190 countries. We work with 174,000 colleagues around the world and generated annual sales of €49.8 billion in 2013. Over half of our company’s footprint is in the faster growing developing and emerging markets (57% in 2013). Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known brands, 14 of which – Knorr, Persil / Omo, Dove, Sunsilk, Hellmann’s, Surf, Lipton, Rexona / Sure, Wall’s ice cream, Lux, Flora / Becel, Rama / Blue Band, Magnum and Axe / Lynx – now generate a turnover of €1 billion or more.
Our ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental footprint (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increasing our positive social impact. We are committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling our growth from our environmental impact. Supporting our three big goals, we have defined seven pillars, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at www.unilever.com/sustainable-living.
Unilever has been recognised in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. Unilever has been named sector leader of the CDP’s Forests programme for three consecutive years, and in 2013 led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey - for the third year running. Unilever was named LinkedIn’s third most sought-after employer worldwide in 2013.
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