Unilever, one of the world’s leading FMCG companies and owner of global brands such as Lifebuoy and Signal, has announced the results of its regional health and hygiene initiative which was conducted across schools and labour camps in the gulf region. In 2012 alone, the campaign has reached and engaged with 760,786 consumers including 500,627 students across 527 schools between the ages of 5 and 12. The reach that Unilever has achieved within the schools segment makes the health and hygiene campaign the largest of its type.
The health and hygiene program started in early 2010 in line with Unilever’s philosophy of doing well by doing good. In the same year, the company launched Unilever Sustainable Living Plan that aims at enhancing the health and wellbeing of one billion people around the world by 2020.
“For over 110 years, Unilever has been committed to improving the health, hygiene and wellness standards of its consumers. Children are early adopters of habits and also act as agents of change within their community. Our program therefore targets children with the aim of fostering positive habits and making it a part of their daily routine. We aim at reaching, engaging and inspiring two million studentsin the Gulf by 2020” said Arijit Ghose, Managing Director, Unilever Gulf.
Since the kick off of the initiative in 2010, Unilever, through its flagship skin cleansing and oral care brands; Signal and Lifebuoy, has educated 800,627 students on correct oral and health hygiene habits. This puts Unilever ahead of plan of reaching its 2020 goal.
The importance of this initiative lies in the fact that research has shown that more than 50 percent of world’s population don’t brush their teeth and 5.2% of school children in the Gulf region between the ages of 5 and 11 have missed eleven or more days of school due to hygiene related illnesses. The simple act of washing hands with soap at key points of the day, like after going to the bathroom and before eating food can reduce the incidence of diarrhea rates among children by almost 50 percent and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent.
Unilever’s brands, Lifebuoy and Signal, have adopted an edutainment approach to assist in delivering a strong and clear message to all young students. The activities promote the significance of washing hands, oral hygiene and conserving water. They include a scrap book creation competition, colouring handbooks, engaging performances by Signal & Lifebuoy mascots, in addition to conducting a glow germ test that helps to visibly demonstrate the importance of using soap to kill harmful germs.
This campaign was kicked off in the region in 2010, where 100,000 children were reached in UAE, Oman and Kuwait. Additionally in 2011, Unilever has managed to reach 200,000 in the Gulf region.