Unilever Malawi has launched a 21 day Lifebuoy soap primary school competition as one way of sensitising learners on health benefits of washing hands with soap.
Speaking after the launch at Namiwawa Primary School, Unilever Malawi Assistant Branch Building Manager Nita Musyani said the company decided to launch the competition to encourage pupils in schools to observe hygiene.
“Hygiene is an issue in Malawi more especially in schools. This is why the activity is targeting pupils of the age ranging from 5 to 12 years because they are in their formative stage and can easily adopt lifelong habits of washing hands with soap in so doing, changing their hygiene habits,” said Musyani.
She further said the activity is expected to reach out to more children in 15 schools across the country.
“ This programme is targeting three schools in the northern region, Five schools in the central and another five schools in the southern region and it is geared to sensitize pupils on health and hygiene so that infections such as cholera and diarrheal could be reduced,” she said.
According to Musyani, during a 21 day competition, pupils will also be engaged in different competitions relating to hand washing.
“Pupils will be engaged in wrapper collection where the top school with the highest number of wrappers collected will walk away with a 5,000 liter water tank.
‘The 2 runner-ups will each get a 2,000 liter one,” she said adding: “Learners who will successfully complete the programme will be awarded with certificates.
In her remarks, Namiwawa Primary Headmistress Eunice Namale thanked Unilever Malawi for coming up with the initiative saying the activity would go a long way in improving hygiene standards of the school.
On competition, Namale said: “the school will do everything possible to ensure that the Namiwawa scoops the first position.”
In Malawi, seven percent of deaths in children under the age of five are caused by diarrheal; however, most people do not understand that washing hands with soap can lead to 45 percent reduction in diarrheal infection.
It is against this background that Unilever Malawi which was established in 1980s with a social mission of making cleanliness commonplace, early this year launched the new lifebuoy as one way of promoting health and hygiene.