Unilever Malawi has successfully fulfilled its pledge by awarding three primary schools with water tanks after emerging winners of a 21 day Lifebuoy soap primary school competition which was launched as one way of sensitizing learners on health benefits of washing hands with soap.
The campaign which was launched at the Namiwawa Primary School in September, 2015 has seen Kabwabwa Primary School of Lilongwe walking away with a 5,000 litter water tank while 2 runner-ups Chilinde primary school of Lilongwe and Zingwangwa Primary School of Blantyre has each get a 2,000 litter tank.
Speaking on the sidelines of commemorations of Global Hand washing Day organized by Unilever at Zingwangwa Primary School in Blantyre on Friday, Unilever Malawi Brands 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 was 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.
“So far I can say the campaign has been successful and we have achieved our goals. The activity reached out more children in 15 primary schools across the country and Unilever has spent K16 million on the whole competition.
” The programme was targeting three schools in the northern region, Five schools in the central and another five schools in the southern region and it was 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 were engaged in different competitions relating to hand washing.
“Pupils were engaged in wrapper collection where the top school with the highest number of wrappers collected promised to walk away with a 5,000 litter water tank and this time it is Kabwabwa of Lilongwe that has won.
In his remarks, Zingwangwa Primary Head teacher Hastings Kumbemba thanked Unilever Malawi for coming up with the initiative saying the activity has gone a long way in improving hygiene standards at his school.
On competition, Kumbemba said: “The school has done everything possible to scoop the prize. Yes, Zingwangwa has become third in this competition but we are on position one in the southern Region.”
Dr Queen Dube, Head of Paediatrics and Child Health at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) said by washing hands, Malawians can prevent diseases like diarrhoea and Pneumonia.
Dube said many diarrhoea disease that people suffer are due to unhygienic which she said can easily be prevented by a simple thing like hand washing.
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.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :