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Lifebuoy launches ‘high five for handwashing’ campaign


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NAIROBI, October 2016 – Unilever, through its health soap Lifebuoy today launched the High 5 for handwashing campaign to mark the Global Handwashing Day– now in its 9th year – to raise awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap in reducing child mortality.

Global Handwashing Day 0ct 2016

High 5 for handwashing is a social media campaign aimed to celebrate clean and confident hands in which Lifebuoy encourages and challenges the public at large to share a picture of themselves “High Fiving.”

For every “High Five” that is shared on social media (Facebook or Twitter) Lifebuoy commits to teach 5 children the habit of handwashing with soap, as part of its commitment to improve the hygiene behaviour among 12 million Kenyans by 2020.

During the launch, Lifebuoy also acknowledged all schools taking part in its 21 day behaviour change programme named “School of Five.” The programme aims at encouraging pupils to adopt handwashing behaviour on 5 critical occasions – before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, after visiting the toilet, and during the daily bath – and reciprocate the message to their family and friends. The programme has been able to reach a total of 281 schools and over 600,000 people across the country.

Speaking during the Global Handwashing Day celebration, Unilever East Africa’s, CEO, Justin Apsey noted: “At Unilever, our commitment is to change the handwashing behaviours of 12 million Kenyans by 2020 through educating and empowering underprivileged communities that handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and low cost ways to prevent infections such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.”

He also added that High 5 for handwashing is a symbolic gesture that transcends cultural, geographical and language barriers, galvanising local communities to adopt the lifesaving habit of handwashing with soap.

Global Handwashing Day 0ct 2016
Global Handwashing Day

Every year, preventable diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia claim the lives of 2.8 million children across the globe before they reach the age of five. , The first 28 days of a child’s life are the most critical. In Kenya, more than 34,000 newborn babies die each year within their first month of life – a figure that translates to more than 90 deaths per day.

Such deaths can be significantly reduced if children, mothers and caregivers alike are taught to embrace the simple, yet often neglected act of handwashing with soap. High 5 for handwashing unites supporters of child health to champion the adoption of good hygiene habits like handwashing with soap to help more children reach their fifth birthday. Like the simple act of handwashing with soap, the simple act of a high 5 serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of good hygiene in saving lives.

Global Handwashing Day shines the spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world, with the aim to foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap. Lifebuoy is spearheading this year’s efforts with its High 5 for handwashing initiative to raise awareness and instil the habit of handwashing with soap.

High 5 for handwashing is part of Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5 campaign, which aims to assist countries realise specific targets within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDG3 and SDG6 to reduce child mortality and ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The campaign advocates for greater use of simple and cost effective hygiene interventions like handwashing with soap.

Lifebuoy runs one of the world’s largest hygiene behaviour change programmes, reaching over 337 million people across 28 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America since 2010. Lifebuoy is aiming to change the handwashing behaviour of one billion people by 2020, as part of its commitment to decreasing child mortality and to the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Unilever through its Lifebuoy brand co-founded Global Handwashing Day in 2008 with the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW).

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About Unilever East Africa

Unilever East Africa is one of the leading suppliers of food, home and personal care products across East Africa. With about 19,000 employees, Unilever is one of the largest private employers in the region. Working to create a better future every day, Unilever helps people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Its portfolio includes most loved locally produced brands, OMO, Sunlight, Blue Band, Royco, Geisha and Vaseline, as well as key world’s renowned brands, like Knorr, Dove, Lux, Axe, among many others.

The company was ranked Top Employer for 2015 in Kenya by the Top Employer Institute, an international certification institute.

Unilever’s global ambition is to decouple growth from environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal) and increase social impact. Unilever is committed to helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, sourcing all its agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and decoupling its growth from its environmental impact. Supporting its three big goals, Unilever has defined seven pillars, underpinned by targets encompassing social, environmental and economic areas. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

i UNICEF. April 2016. Diarrhoeal disease.

ii UNICEF. April 2016. Pneumonia.

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