NEWS27 March 2020

UK aid and Unilever in £100m hand washing campaign

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UK – The UK government has joined forces with Unilever for a £100m global campaign to boost hand washing and help tackle the spread of coronavirus.


The programme aims to reach up to a billion people worldwide, raising awareness and changing behaviour, to make sure people are washing their hands with soap regularly and disinfecting surfaces.

The funding is made up of £50 million each from both the Department for International Development and Unilever. The programme will also provide more than 20m hygiene products in the developing world, including in areas where there is little or no sanitation.

The mass awareness campaign will run across TV, radio and print, social and digital media to help change people’s behaviour in countries across Africa and Asia with messages tailored to specific communities to increase effectiveness.

International development secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Health experts have said washing your hands regularly and staying away from other people are the most effective ways to stop this virus from spreading and to save lives.

“Many people in the poorest countries lack access to basic hand washing products, such as soap, or are not aware of the urgent need to change their behaviour. The UK government’s partnership with Unilever, will make a real difference, helping to protect both developing countries and the UK from further infections.”

The initiative will be led by Unilever’s hygiene brands Domestos bleach and Lifebuoy soap, which have been running large scale hygiene behaviour change programmes for many years.

Unilever CEO, Alan Jope, added: “Lifebuoy and Domestos have a proven track record of running hygiene awareness and education programmes successfully, and we hope that the work we will be able to drive jointly with UK aid will help save lives that could otherwise be impacted by coronavirus.”