Entry title: Handwashing Kebabs
Iftaar is a time when every evening during Ramadan friends and family get together to break their fast with the choicest foods. People throng iconic Ramadan street-food markets, where millions visit to feast, especially on an iconic Ramadan delicacy - the kebab.
These delectable kebabs are the biggest attraction of the Iftaar feast, displayed on skewers along with every food cart, attracting potential diners.
The Problem: The excitement surrounding the experience and the enthusiasm of sampling a multitude of delicacies after a day of fasting overshadows hygiene which means the kebabs are usually eaten with unclean hands. Making a festive moment a potential threat from germs.
It is true that to effect behaviour change, one can’t interrupt established patterns, you need to seamlessly participate in them, to be able to drive a critical message. Therefore, it is also important that a hygiene alert doesn’t detract from the festivities and the spirit of celebration, but naturally ‘infiltrates’ the celebrations, if you will.
So, instead of creating ad messages ‘in public interest’, we deployed an intervention that seamlessly ‘infiltrated’ the celebrations – an idea that was loved by people who experienced it and was applauded by evangelists.
We carved up Lifebuoy bar soaps of different colours to look like the iconic kebabs and carefully ‘installed’ them on skewers exactly how they are sold. These soap kebab skewers were hung right next to kebab skewers in stalls across the Ramadan street food markets to attract attention and curiosity.
The Call to Action: Wash your hands with soap before eating, in a bid to allow the month-long celebrations to continue unabated!
The strategic placement of kebabs and a handwashing station and message were an unforgettable reminder for people to wash their hands before feasting.
The activation was conducted in major cities across India - Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, and Pune. Cities that experience footfalls in the millions in their respective street-food markets.
The fun and non-preachy aspect of the idea brought the critical message of handwashing to over 36 million people over the month of Ramadan. Those thronging the Iftaar markets, experienced the initiative, resonated with it, loved it and participated willingly.
Across cities, a multitude of street food stall owners and restauranteurs were keen to allow a space to install the Handwashing Kebabs and were eager to make this a regular feature for the future. Further proving that the initiative can be effective at scale, with minimal effort and expense.
Entry title: H is for Handwashing
Humanity has a problem. According to a 2020 global study, four out of five people don’t wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom. Amidst the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, the importance of handwashing with soap was thrust into the global spotlight. Yet, although handwashing rates spiked initially, they also started dramatically declining soon after. With the world emerging from lockdown, embedding good handwashing habits has never been more critical. It is of utmost importance for the world to commit to hand hygiene; or we risk a deadly, continuous cycle of covid-19 and the genesis of further pandemics.
The need of the hour is to effect a fundamental and systemic change so that handwashing as a practice became a lifelong habit. With this aim, we designed one of the simplest, most scalable, and effortless-to-execute ideas: ‘H for Handwashing’.
For generations, children have been taught letters of the alphabet through simple associations with everyday references such as ‘A’ for Apple, ‘B’ for Ball and ‘C’ for Cat. Lessons they never forget.
Lifebuoy have pledged resources and support through our partners, to embed handwashing into the alphabet – by changing how the letter ‘H’ is taught. No longer will ‘H’ stand for horse or hat. ‘H’ must stand for handwashing. A simple intervention that introduces the concept of handwashing to children at the right age, making it a widespread and common habit that is learnt early but lasts a lifetime.