Durban - Unilever, together with the Department of Education, launched a free and interactive Hygiene Hero digital platform for pupils in schools across the country last week.
The programme has been put in place to ensure that school children know the importance of hygiene and cleanliness at all times.
Queen Mgobhozi from Unilever said that the company is making a concerted effort to improve children’s hygiene habits and keep them safe from germs at home and at school.
She said Hygiene Heroes is a free interactive digital platform that helps children learn all about hand washing, toilet hygiene and oral hygiene through animated videos, quizzes, and interactive games.
‘’The journey begins with animated videos, where colourful characters teach practical hygiene habits that children can easily understand. The real fun kicks off with the germ-dodging game, where kids can compete against their friends and climb the leader board. At the end, there are interactive quizzes that allow them to test their knowledge,’’ she said.
Mgobhozi said it is important that parents, guardians, and caregivers with internet access sign up for free to the platform.
She also encouraged parents to play the games with their children and witness as they learn good hygiene habits and bring them into their homes and schools.
‘’The programme will give parents an opportunity to spend quality time with their children engaged in a fun, learning activity that encourages good hygiene habits that keep the whole family healthier so they can continue to go about their daily lives without the stress and financial strain of family illness,’’ she said.
According to Mgobhozi, once parents are signed up, their children will join over 6.2 million pupils in the country who have already gained the same hygiene education through the National Schools Hygiene Programme.
‘’It is particularly vital in this post-pandemic era, where we have seen a dip in awareness about good hygiene habits due to the lessened risk of contracting Covid- 19, while the risk of other deadly infectious diseases that keep children from crucial learning remains,’’ she said.
She said issues such as post-Covid hygiene fatigue and lack of access to sanitation and water continue to affect the health and well-being of South Africa’s children, which often translates into school absenteeism.
‘’We reinforce important lessons early on and equip them with vital knowledge to protect themselves from illness-causing germs,’’ she said.
Mgobhozi added that he World Health Organization identifies invested stakeholder collaboration, such as the Unilever and Department of Basic Education’s National Schools Hygiene Programme partnership, which promotes behaviour change as a solution to preventing illness caused by germs and keeping children in school, as vital to ensuring continued access to education and optimal health.
The programme can be easily registered under the Unilever website under Hygiene Heroes.