Primary schools hygiene programme launched
IN RESPONSE to the need for improved hygiene and sanitation habits in schools, Unilever and the Department of Basic Education have partnered to launch the National Schools Hygiene and Sanitation Programme.
Yesterday, a memorandum of understanding was signed at Skeen Primary School in Alexandra, announcing a fiveyear partnership between the two.
It will provide hygiene education to every Grade 1 learner in the country. This initiative forms part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goal to help more than a billion people improve their health and well-being by 2020.
The programme will support the curriculum and be rolled out from September to 15 000 public primary schools across the country. It is designed to help kids stay healthy and get a better education by avoiding preventable infections that too often mean they miss school.
Unilever products such as Lifebuoy soap have already educated over 2 million children in 4 000 schools about the importance of washing hands with soap. Oral hygiene brand Mentadent will help teach children the importance of brushing teeth twice daily to prevent oral decay.
“Unilever is committed to working with others to help build a brighter future for all South Africans,” said global chief executive officer Paul Polman.
Children were encouraged to complete a 21-day pilot behaviour-change programme at schools and at home. Principals and teachers reported a notable decrease in illness and improvement in school attendance.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the programme was vital.
“Washing your hands regularly with soap is recognised as a cost-effective tool for achieving good health. It’s so simple and I’m pleased we’re able to partner with Unilever on this essential project,” she said.
Added Polman: “Unilever’s commitment to creating a bright future is at the heart of the company’s Sustainable Living Plan.
“Now in its seventh year, it is the company’s blueprint for growing the business, decoupling environmental footprint from growth, and increasing positive social impact.”
CLEANING UP: Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga and Unilever SA executive vice-president Luc Olivier launch the National Schools Hygiene and Sanitation Programme in Alexandra.