Reckitt Benckiser, the consumer health and hygiene company, collaborated with the Global Citizen India to celebrate three years of its ‘Dettol School Hygiene Education curriculum’ at an one-of-its-kind event ‘Chak-a-Chak Mela’ in New Delhi. It reached 4.52 million school children across eight states.
The event was carefully crafted to educate the children in an edutainment environment. RB is delivering the curriculum in partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation, Samhita, Collective Good Foundation, Learning Links Foundation ADRA and Pehel across urban and rural schools in Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
Gaurav Jain, Senior Vice-President, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia (AMESA), RB Health India, said, "Children are the change-agents of the society, and reaching out early to them means ensuring that we inspire these young minds to inculcate the learning into a habit. We are proud to see the positive impact on the hand-washing habits of schoolchildren across exposed to the Dettol School Hygiene Education curriculum. We have focused on a five-step experiential learning method, which has allowed us to touch upon five crucial everyday aspects of hygiene. I am sure that once the students understand these basic hygiene measures, they would turn into influencers for others, and nation-builders of tomorrow.”
The curriculum, which was delivered by the Aga Khan Foundation, Samhita, Collective Good Foundation, Learning Links Foundation ADRA and Pehel to schools in the target states, is designed to suit grade-appropriate learning of students — Level one is for grade one and two, Level two is for grade three and four, and Level three is for grade five and above. The content is structured into five focus themes that address personal hygiene, hygiene at home, hygiene in school, hygiene during illness and hygiene in neighbourhood. In total, the curriculum covers 15 topics across the five themes for each level through classroom sessions (three topics per theme in progressive level of difficulty), undertaken by the teacher using the resource materials made available.
“We are proud of our strong partnership with Reckitt Benckiser that has enabled the Aga Khan Foundation and its implementing partners to implement a vibrant and extremely effective school hygiene education programme across 1,000 schools in some of the most vulnerable geographies. Together with RB, we are working to collectively address the issue of sanitation and hygiene in schools by inculcating regular hand-washing practices as well as strengthening school capacity to prioritise wash-in-schools. The simple child-friendly tools, messages and campaigns developed by RB have been widely appreciated by district officials across all our project locations, facilitating wider outreach and scaling up of the initiative to over 3,000 schools in 2019,” said Tinni Sawhney, CEO, Aga Khan Foundation, South Asia.
The curriculum focuses on sensitising children about six critical occasions for hand-washing, which include washing hands after defecation, and the use of toilets; before eating; before preparing and serving food; before feeding infants/children; after cleaning a child’s bottom and after coughing/sneezing during illness.
In order to curate an effective event to celebrate the success of the initiative, RB collaborated with the Global Citizen India to design the event around the theme of an Indian carnival or a mela. The event focused on seeding the information that sanitation and hygiene are quintessential Indian concept that can be easily taught through various cultural tools, indigenous to the subcontinent. Each of these activities was carefully selected to organise a familiar yet informative and engaging experience. There were activities such as nukkad natak (street play) popular in North India, puppetry from Rajasthan, hip-hop and rap, popular in slums across Maharashtra.
The event saw a parallel activity involving training of teachers, who are most influential stakeholders, if we need to win against diseases that proliferate because of bad hygiene practices. The experiential activity delivered exercise on developing soft skills, becoming leaders and role models for students, with focus on imparting knowledge on hand hygiene.
The objective of the initiative is to use a five-step experiential learning methods to increase knowledge and inculcate good habits of hygiene-related behaviours among school-age children from an early age. Keeping this in mind, the partnership between RB and its partners Aga Khan Foundation, Samhita, Collective Good Foundation, Learning Links Foundation ADRA and Pehel conducted over 154,000 awareness campaigns and sessions on the subject of hand-washing and hygiene.
The work undertaken through these sessions of offline curriculum and e-curriculum influenced over 4.52 million schoolchildren across the target states of Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This also resulted in the children influencing their families, creating a multiplier effect. Under the programme, 690 soap banks were installed that delivered direct benefits to approximately 38,000 school children.
Furthermore, 4,500 schools with dedicated Dettol hygiene corners and 4,700 children hygiene parliament sessions having been undertaken by children exposed to the Dettol School Hygiene Program.