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Kenya Soap In Schools Update

In late August, Clean the World Foundation Managing Director Sam Stephens visited our Soap in Schools program locations in Kenya to see what kind of progress we made after six months of full-time operation.

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A “train the trainers” refresher course on handwashing for school teachers in Machakos, Kenya.

We’re working across a network of 12 schools serving over 4,000 elementary-aged children in rural villages throughout the country. Our baseline study showed nearly 70 percent of the children suffered from some hygiene-related illness in the 30 days leading up to our launch in February. We implemented ongoing hand washing education classes and soap distribution to the targeted schools to ensure the youth had regular access to soap and proper hand washing facilities. After 90 days, we saw more than a 50 percent reduction in hygiene-related illnesses among the same population.

At the six-month mark, we’re happy to announce we have continued that level of improvement. In fact, incidences of hygiene-related illnesses are down roughly 60 percent among all 4,000 kids! And as a result, school attendance is up more than 50 percent, as the kids are healthier and able to attend school more regularly. This reduction in illness is an enormous impact on their health as well as their futures.

We’ll wrap up the initial pilot program in November and look forward to providing an update then. In the meantime, be sure to watch for updates on social media for this and our other Soap In Schools programs!

Handing out soap to teachers for their classrooms in Machakos, Kenya.
Handing out soap to teachers for their classrooms in Machakos, Kenya.

Soap In Schools Part II: Launching in Tanzania

Clean the World's Sam Stephens speaking with a community leader in Jendele, Tanzania.
Clean the World’s Sam Stephens (left) speaking with a community leader in Jendele, Tanzania.

Thanks to generous support from the Starwood Foundation, we have replicated the Soap In Schools Program in Tanzania. As in Kenya, we’re focusing on a network of schools, conducting a baseline study to understand local hygiene needs, and implementing programming to improve health and school attendance.

In Tanzania, we conducted a baseline assessment across 15 schools serving nearly 5,000 elementary aged youth in two rural communities. The studies showed that, in the previous 30 days, over 80 percent of all kids had experienced a hygiene-related illness. And as a result, chronic school absenteeism – defined as students missing more than four days of school a month – was nearly 50 percent.

Through a partnership with local schools, we’ve launched an ongoing handwashing education program designed to instill proper handwashing as a regular routine in the communities. We will make sure the kids understand how and why to wash their hands, and that they have access to the necessary hygiene supplies. With that support in place, we expect to see a considerable decrease in hygiene-related illnesses in the coming months.

As in Kenya, Clean the World will conduct thorough assessments of the program every 90 days. Stay tuned for an update on our progress in November!

Elementary kids observing a handwashing demonstration in Kisiauni, Tanzania.
Elementary kids observing a handwashing demonstration in Kisiauni, Tanzania.

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