February 5, 2018
For the fourth consecutive year United Purpose and the PZ Cussons Foundation organized Nigeria’s largest Global Handwashing Day (GHD) campaign. This campaign was one of the largest GHD campaigns in the world. In total, more than 46,000 people washed their hands with soap during our campaign activities!
We built on our previous Global Handwashing Day approach, creating hygiene awareness through music, dance and other creative activities. This year, we also strengthened linkages between GHD activities and Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programmes and explored the possibilities of intensive and strategic social media campaigning.
At events in six Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Cross River and Benue States, children performed the campaign anthem, Wash Your Hands O . They also played fun and informative games to learn how to avoid certain illnesses by handwashing with soap. Close to 180 schools conducted school-wide handwashing activities to commemorate Global Handwashing Day. Some children volunteered as ‘Hygiene Heroes in Action’. They visited other schools in their area to speak about the importance of handwashing, demonstrated the steps for proper handwashing with soap, and constructed tippy-taps – simple, low-cost handwashing stations made from readily available materials. Read what drives some of these Hygiene Heroes here.
To put handwashing on the political agenda, we worked with the First Lady of Cross River State to host a State-level breakfast meeting in Calabar, where stakeholders discussed progress in the State’s hygiene sector. Many other ‘Hygiene Heroes’, including Commissioners, development partners and celebrities, demonstrated good handwashing practices and signed a Declaration of Commitment. The event received broad coverage by state and national press. Throughout the month-long campaign, we worked with other private sector parties and individuals, as well as the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
The campaign culminated with an event in Lagos. More than 250 children from 21 schools performed creative raps, dances, song covers, and skits to inform and entertain the crowd. The event was hosted by Nigeria’s favourite comedian and musician Koffi, and attended by a range of VIP guests. Live music and handwashing inspiration was provided by Hygiene Ambassador Sunny Neji, while wrestling champion ‘the Ultimate Commander’ used sports to communicate the importance of handwashing with soap.
Throughout the social media campaign, we targeted key audiences – including government and other agencies, both public and private – urging them to prioritize often-overlooked hygiene issues, while also giving our significant online following base the opportunity to interact with the campaign. Through partnerships with new digital media houses and blogs (including BellaNaija and YNaija) we were able to reach Nigeria’s youth. Sunny Neji and the United Purpose Country Director took part in radio talk shows and were interviewed by a range of African TV news stations. Continuous live updates and creative content generated a lot of traction on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
Watch this video on Why Handwashing Makes the Difference to learn more about our campaign. This Global Handwashing Day was a great opportunity to promote handwashing with soap in Nigeria, and we look forward to Global Handwashing Day 2018!
Written by Nanpet Chuktu, United Purpose
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© 2017 The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP).