UNILEVER Guyana, local distributors of the ever popular Lifebuoy toilet soap, yesterday spent the day teaching children at the F.E Pollard Primary the principles of proper handwashing.The event, which was held at the school’s David Street, Kitty premises and primarily targetted Grade One pupils, was used to encourage children in the simple habit of washing their hands, using just plain soap and water.
The guiding principle behind developing such a habit, and at an early age, is because it has been medically proven that proper handwashing can help prevent the spread of certain diseases, especially diarrhea, which reportedly kills about 2000 children every year, and pneumonia, which accounts for the loss of another two million annually.
As Unilever Guyana’s Market Development Manager, Jackie DeRoche explained, the purpose of having such an exercise around Global Handwashing Day (GHD), celebrated the world over on October 15, is to educate children on how to prevent germs and sicknesses through washing their hands regularly.
“We do it in an array of Caribbean countries, and internationally as well,” DeRoche said. “We did it for the whole of last week; we did a total of seven schools, and are reaching about 720 students in Berbice and Georgetown.”
Happy To Help
According to Ms Anjanie Hackett, Managing Director of D&A Advertising, the agency used by Unilever to market its products, they’re more than happy to be a part of Lifebuoy’s Corporate Source of Responsibility (CSR) project.
“Lifebuoy has been known to work with children all around the world, and they go around to teach children how to clean and wash their hands properly,” Hackett said.
The school’s headmistress, Ms Dawn Collins also weighed in on the subject, saying that the initiative is very educating to the younger students.
“It is important because, many times, they come down with all kinds of sicknesses that can be avoided if they had washed their hands,” Collins said, adding:
“We cannot depend on the home or the school alone, so, whoever or wherever they can get that information from can be useful.”
The exercise was helped along immensely by the use of a mini-skit by local raconteurs, Mr Michael Khan and Ms Natasha Azeez which grabbed the attention of the first-graders. It showed how germs can be spread easily, and what can be done to get rid of dirt and germs, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Global Handwashing Day is observed on October 15 annually since its inception in 2008. It was so designated by the United Nation General Assembly.
GHD has been echoing and reinforcing the call for improved hygienic practices worldwide, with the guiding vision being to make handwashing with soap both a local and global culture.
It has been found that although people around the world tend to wash their hands with water, very few do so with soap at critical moments, such as after using the toilet, while cleaning a child, and before handling food.