Super School of Five

In 2014, Sightsavers, Unilever, and Lifebuoy joined forces to create a program in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zambia that would help to prevent childhood blindness and eliminate trachoma through proper hand washing and face washing practices. Through this partnership, the Super School of Five program was born – a 21-day program where schoolchildren follow the adventures of five superheroes to learn the importance of good hygiene habits. The program’s structure was built around the concept of habit formation, with the program’s length reflective of how long research shows it takes children to adopt a new behavioral habit, and regular repetition of key messages to reinforce the behavioral ask. As participants in the program, children were taught to say a pledge to wash their hands with soap, were given a flip chart of activities that demonstrate how handwashing fights disease, and encouraged to make up their own songs, games, and murals that connected back to the program’s main message. Competitions between children attending neighboring schools were arranged to encourage social diffusion and continued participation in the program, and each child who completed the program was given a certificate to acknowledge their achievement. After determining that a lack of washing stations was a barrier for schoolchildren, program developers worked to have hand and face washing stations installed outside of classrooms, toilets, and eating areas and helped teachers and students to come up with a plan to make sure washing stations always had water. Since the program began, 300,000 school children and 3,700 teachers have participated in the program and have become champions for proper hand washing and face washing behaviors.

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