New Delhi: Hygiene is the beginning of a happier and healthier world – with this agenda in mind in 2014, under the aegis of its overarching movement, Dettol Banega Swasth India, Reckitt launched the transformative Dettol School Hygiene Education Program. The programme aims at teaching and embedding habits at an early stage so that the early behaviour and learnings can change and impact the lives of a generation growing up.
Over the years, the Dettol School Hygiene Education Program has revolutionised the understanding and practice of hygiene through impactful, innovative interventions such as:
– Distributing Hygiene Buddy Kits that enable experiential learning and ignite STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) thinking. These kits include fun games for kids like “Soapy Play Dough” and “Learning How Germs Spread” and stimulate learning through Neuro Linguist Programming (NLP).
– Teaching the science of hygiene through comic books, to engage with children through their favourite and loved characters like Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu
– Building Dettol Hygiene Play Parks, which is a one-of-its- kind initiative that uses play pedagogy to drive behaviour change. It instils crucial hygiene awareness in an environmentally-friendly way
– Setting up hygiene corners in every school, with prominent displays of the material needed for hygiene, such as soap, hand-wash, buckets, water mugs, towels, students’ workbooks, the teacher’s manual, posters, a first-aid box and more. The aim of hygiene corners is to keep students informed about the how and why of hygiene
Growth Over The Years
What started in 2014 with the launch of the initiative in just 2,500 schools, today has reached out to 24 million children across 840,000 schools and 500,000 Madrasas. The children covered by the initiative are being raised in an ecosystem where the knowledge of hygiene is cemented with cultural nudges that promote and sustain positive hygiene practices and behaviours.
Other Key Findings
Over the years, the Dettol School Hygiene Education Programme has proved itself as a robust intervention with the ability to create sharp shifts in the knowledge, attitudes, practices and behaviours around hygiene. According to the recently published report by Reckitt that measures the impact of Dettol School Hygiene Education Programme 2022, the initiative has helped achieve the following:
1. The programme led to an improvement in the status of handwashing practice among children, which improved to 86 per cent from a baseline of 11 per cent
2. The status of knowledge of handwashing practice among children reached 99 per cent from a baseline of 35 per cent.
3. 80 per cent of children in the programme displayed positive behaviour towards sanitation, from a baseline of 21 per cent.
4. Status of knowledge on safe handling of drinking water improved to 94 per cent from a baseline of 46 per cent.
5. 75 per cent of respondents always followed sanitation practices, a significant increase from a baseline of mere 6 per cent.
6. 86 per cent displayed positive attitudes towards sanitation practices from a baseline of 44 per cent.
7. Overall school absenteeism reduced to 23 per cent, from a baseline of 36 per cent.
Talking about the positive change, Gaurav Jain, Executive Vice President, Reckitt – South Asia said,
Young children are powerful agents of change. They have the ability to raise awareness in homes that in turn leads to change in communities. Schools contribute to this process by building positive behaviours in a structured, sustainable manner. Over the last six years, the Dettol School Hygiene Education Programme has inculcated pro-hygiene behaviours in children and supported these behaviours by creating access to sanitation. It has created tremendous social value with the change rippling out to families and communities and positively impacting multiple domains of life.
Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs and Partnerships, SoA, Reckitt said,
The Dettol School Hygiene Programme puts the theory into practice. It was developed as an experiential, activity-based curriculum to build knowledge, attitudes, practice and behaviour around hygiene in children. Launched in 2014 in 2,500 schools, it has since expanded to reach 24 million children across 40 districts in 8 states. True to its vision, the programme engages with children as collaborators, letting them drive the change. It 99% builds their leadership and critical-thinking skills. Moreover, by introducing pro-hygiene behaviours in the formative years, integrating hygiene into school curricula and extending this education to every child, we enable widespread transformation.
The Need For Programmes Like Dettol School Hygiene Education In India
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development called for ‘ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ under Sustainable Development Goal 6, and established ambitious indicators for WASH services under targets 6.1 and 6.2. World Health Organization (WHO) states that proper hand hygiene helps reduce deaths from respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases in children under five by 21 percent and 30 percent respectively. UNICEF states that over the past five years, half a billion people have gained access to basic hand hygiene facilities – a rate of 300,000 per day. While this is progress, it is still far too slow, as per the experts. UNICEF adds that at the current rate, almost 2 billion people will still lack access to basic hand hygiene facilities in 2030, negatively impacting other development priorities, including education, health, nutrition, and economic growth. Meanwhile, as per WHO, nearly half of the schools worldwide do not have basic hygiene services, affecting 817 million children.
The pursuit of better health for all, in accordance with the UN Goal of Leave No One Behind runs very deeply with Reckitt, therefore with the thought of protecting, healing and nurturing for a cleaner, healthier world, the brand kick-started the initiative of Dettol School Hygiene Education.