Did you know that every year 1.7 million children under the age of 5 die from preventable infections such as Diarrhea and pneumonia?
Unilever supports the brightFuture of South African children
Recently I was honoured to be invited by UnileverSA to the BrightFuture event at Shine Studios in Joburg Central. The event showcased a beautiful and inspiring art exhibition, created by Unilever, Kids from primary schools in ALenxander and I See a Different You, a Soweto-based creative collective. The exhibition displayed portraits of young schoolchildren from Carter, Skeen, Gordon, M.C Weiler and Emfundisweni Primary Schools in Alexandra, alongside drawings they had created of their dreams for the future. It was amazing to see how the children have such diverse and interesting future aspirations, such as being doctors and nurses to soccer players and astronauts.
The event was supported by many key dignitaries, Media, Celebrities, Parents and Children from the featured schools. It was beautiful to see both the joy of the parents and how proud the children were of the great work that they had done with their art.
The 2 highlights of the evening was a performance by the children, the viewing of the art and an amazing performance by Mafikizolo enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
“Of 24000 public schools in South Africa, only 8000 have flushing toilets”
KEY HIGHLIGHTS ABOUT THE INITIATIVES
Unilever’s commitment to the Brightfuture of our children
Unilever currently has successful hygiene programmes running in hundreds of schools, using their brands with purpose, but these have never been integrated. To date, Domestos has reached over 480 000 South African school children through the “Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Future” and Germ-busters Club programmes. Lifebuoy’s ‘School of 5’ programme has reached over 2 million children and 10 million South Africans in total.
Now, the Unilever brightFuture Schools Programme will integrate these programmes as well as two others, to create one holistic offering, incorporating health and hygiene education and Maths skills.
Partnership that bring results
Unilever is working in partnership with UNICEF and the Department of Basic on this initiative. In the words of Unilever South Africa Executive Vice President, Peter Cowan “Our vision is to create a bright future for all South Africans, reaching 15 million people by 2020. We can’t do that alone. Our partnerships with UNICEF and the Department of Basic Education will allow us to scale up the work we’ve been doing to address some major problems and create an even bigger impact. This is a watershed moment where we are all taking action to achieve real change.”
Introducing a sustainable change in behaviour
The BrightFuture Schools Programme will be piloted 31 schools in KZN, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo over the next five months. It brings together 3 programmes that have run successfully before, namely the Domestos and Lifebuoy health and hygiene programmes, the Omo Smart Kids Maths programme, and a new oral hygiene programme from Pepsodent.
It is important that this goes beyond just starting the programme, but to it being sustainable and part of the kids everyday life, so the kids will complete a 21-day behavior change programme and will receive product and content to complete tasks at school and at home with their families. This ensures that the communities from which the kids come from also benefit from the programmes
Ensuring a BrightFuture
In 2017 Unilever, together with partners UNICEF and the Department of Basic Education, aim to roll out this pilot programme to more schools with a goal of reaching over a million children in Grade 0 and Grade 1 per year over the next few years.
Where there is no proper sanitation children become sick and miss school, this impacts the quality of the education they receive and stunts their growth, education and ability to be future contributing members of society.
Qoutes from the Dignitaries who were present
Well-known educational psychologist Tshepiso Matentjie from Kaya FM, who said, “It is great that Unilever are addressing these very real problems for South African children. I’d like to see an opportunity for professionals in my own field to get involved to make sure that this good work is retained by kids.”
UNICEF ambassador Tshedi Mholo invited all those present to lend their support to this and other UNICEF initiatives to create even more impact.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BRIGHTFUTURES PROGRAMME AND PARTICIPATE
Unilever brightFuture. See the Possibilities. Get Involved. #brightFutureSA
Small actions can make a big impact.