Unilever Malawi says it is committed to promoting hygiene among the country’s pupils.
Unilever Malawi Country Manager Anele Zunga was speaking at Chirimba Primary School in Blantyre on Monday when the company reactivated the Lifebuoy School of Five hand washing programme.
The initiative, which was initially launched last year and reached 54,000 pupils, has this year been upscaled to reach 60,000 in seven schools in the southern and central regions of the country.
Among other things, the 21 day campaign seeks to help change hygienic habits among children between five and 12 by teaching them the five key occasions for washing hands.
“Unilever will continue to play a pivotal role in driving behavioral change to improve the hygiene of children and their families,” said Zunga.
Zunga said through the Lifebuoy School of Five programme, children are taught that hand washing with soap is one of the best ways to remove germs and preventing the spread of germs
Seven percent of deaths in children under the age of five are caused by diarrhea, according to the Malawi Demographic and Health Survey.
Zunga said clinical research has proven that hand washing with soap could lead up to 45 percent reduction in diarrhea infections.
Under this year’s programme, pupils would also be encouraged to compete for their school in a Lifebuoy wrapper collection competition where the school with the highest number of wrappers will win a 2,500 litre water tank.
Chirimba Primary School head teacher Joe Magombo thanked Unilever for the programme which, he said, would help promote hygiene at his school.