Middle School Students Learn the Importance of Hand Washing

IMG_7987_medium IMG_7990_mediumOn February 15, Clean the World employees volunteered at Memorial Middle School in Orlando for our monthly Soap in Schools program. We had the wonderful opportunity to teach students the importance of hand washing, while also keeping them engaged and creating an environment where they have fun learning about germs and hygiene!

To begin the exciting event, students played a trivia game lead by Clean the World’s Lisa Hullinger, who gave them the dirty details about how far a sneeze travels. She also schooled the kids about which everyday item carries more germs — a cellphone or a toilet seat (spoiler alert, it’s a cellphone!), and how it’s crucial for them to wash their hands with soap rather than just use hand sanitizer. While some students couldn’t be stumped by these facts, many were shocked to know how many germs they are exposed to on a daily basis.

The crowd favorite of the afternoon was the black light activity, or as our intern Gabrielle Lintz renamed it, the “Germ Detector.” After students played the trivia game, they were eager to see what the black light would be used for. They saw their germs light up and come to life under the light, and were then strongly motivated to wash their hands.

At the hand-washing station, soap heroes Madison Wilson, Jorge Souto, and Cairra Martin of Clean the World sang a jingle to teach the students how to effectively wash their hands and remove the germs they spotted under the black light. For 20 seconds, the students successfully scrubbed away the germs and sang along to the hand-washing song that Clean the World teaches at every Soap in Schools event.

Clean the World is humbled to have the opportunity to teach students and families the importance of hygiene and hand washing. Seeing the children’s faces light up and get involved with us is truly amazing. We always hope to leave a positive, lasting impact on their lives. At the end of the event we gave each family a hygiene kit to take home, as a thank you for participating and taking the time to learn how they can improve their hygiene practices.

Clean the World’s Soap in Schools program began in January of 2016. Once a month we visit a different middle school after-school program to share our mission and teach families and students about the importance of hand washing.


Written by Gabrielle Lintz, an intern in the Clean the World marketing department.

School Attendance Leaps 45% During Kenya Program

Handwashing demonstrationIn November, we wrapped up our inaugural nine-month Soap in Schools Program in Kenya, and we have the final results. Across the 12 schools, serving more than 4,000 children, we saw an overall reduction in hygiene-related illnesses (diarrheal diseases, pneumonia, and skin infections) of 56 percent. And school attendance increased 45 percent from when the program started at the beginning of 2016!

These numbers are huge for a few reasons. They show that our work achieved an impact in the first 90 days and that we were able to sustain that impact for the duration of the nine-month program. The outcome bodes well for our other Soap in Schools programs taking place or soon launching in other parts of the world. And it proves the power of soap and proper hand washing in making a significant impact on global health.

The results are a powerful indicator that we are on the right track with Clean the World’s mission. Thousands of kids are now healthier because of our work. They are going to school, getting an education, and will hopefully break the cycle of poverty that has plagued their families for generations. For many, this program might be a turning point in their lives — and for us, it shows just how impactful soap can be.

We’ve identified ways to carry this work forward through new partnerships in Kenya this year, so look for more details soon. We’ll also be sharing our first impact numbers from Tanzania soon as well. And as we move into 2017, we looking forward to launching outcome-based programs and partnerships in India, China, and beyond.

Thank you for being a partner in our life-changing mission and for everything you do to support us.

Girl Scouts Learn About the Importance of Hand Hygiene on Global Handwashing Day

dscf9517On Saturday, Oct. 15, we observed Global Handwashing Day by hosting a group of Girl Scouts at our Orlando facility for activities that were both educational and life-changing. Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective way to prevent diseases.

Clean the World is packaging 3,000 hygiene kits for U.S. residents affected by Hurricane Matthew using items donated by United Airlines. The repurposed items come from the airline’s international premium cabin amenity kits and help us fill a critical need for at-risk people. The Girl Scouts were a huge help as they assembled hundreds of the kits during their visit.

Scouts who weren’t working on the hygiene kit assembly line helped prepare damaged and empty shampoo bottles for recycling.

The girls also took part in a hand washing activity, during which they learned the importance of washing for 20 seconds before eating, and after using the restroom, coughing, sneezing, or shaking hands. They rubbed glitter on their hands to represent germs, and took turns washing to get rid of the “glitter germs.”

The scouts drew pictures of their hands before and after hand washing, and worked on designs for a special Clean the World Girl Scout badge. And to encourage those whose lives were disrupted by the hurricane, the girls wrote greeting cards for affected people in Haiti, the Bahamas, and Southeastern U.S. coastal areas.

Shipments of Clean the World Soap Help Hurricane Matthew Victims

UPDATED ON WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19

Late last week, we announced that recycled soap had shipped from Clean the World facilities in Orlando and Las Vegas to the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Matthew. Now we are pleased to follow up with news about where those shipments are:

Haiti: More than 191,000 bars of soap have been shipped to Haiti and are being distributed to the hardest-hit areas in the country’s southern region. This includes over 21,000 soap bars being handed out in partnership with Direct Relief and 167,000 with My Neighbor’s Children. We expect to deliver another full container of soap to Haiti this week. The next shipment may contain up to a quarter million bars of soap.
The Bahamas: More than 41,000 soap bars arrived in The Bahamas on Sunday and are being distributed to the affected areas in partnership with the Salvation Army and a network of other aid groups.
 United States: We expect to deliver at least 3,000 hygiene kits this week to some of the locally affected areas as well in to the northeast coast of Florida, and the Carolinas.

These hygiene items will make a big difference as governments and residents struggle with the aftermath of the storm, and as cholera begins to spread again in Haiti. We will continue to send additional shipments in the coming weeks to meet the ongoing demand.

Our volunteer support has been tremendous, and we’re deeply grateful to everyone who helped make the efforts such a huge success. Although the urgent need for volunteers is waning, we still need financial support to help fund the shipping and distribution of the soap.

As Hurricane Matthew lashed at southern Haiti on Tuesday, Oct. 4, Clean the World was already making plans to ramp up soap production and packing. Standing water and poor hygiene are a recipe for the spread of bacterial diseases. So based on our experience in the island nation and what we heard from the global hygiene community, we were relatively certain there would be a cholera outbreak after the storm passed.

Even as Central Florida residents prepared for Matthew to pass near or across the Sunshine State, local volunteers began streaming into our Orlando facility. Our goal was to ship 400,000 soap bars to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and coastal areas of the Southeastern United States.

A week later, on Thursday, Oct. 13, we passed our goal and were closing in on a half-million soap bars packed and ready for shipment. We closed the week at 550,000 bars packed.

We were amazed by how fast that happened. Big thanks to the nearly 600 Orlando-area volunteers who showed up that first week. We also want to recognize our Clean the World team members who kept the production line running, the forklift moving, and the volunteers busy during those long 16-hour days.

But we aren’t finished yet! Clean the World still needs your financial support and volunteer help. Watch this blog, our Facebook page, and e-mail updates for more information on volunteer opportunities and fundraising programs.

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Packed up and ready to depart Clean the World’s loading dock. This truckload of soap was destined for Port Tampa Bay, and then on to Haiti.

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Central Florida volunteers packed these 30,000 soap bars, which were bound for the Bahamas.

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Departing for Fort Lauderdale, and then the Bahamas.

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Once our truck arrived in Fort Lauderdale, the soap was loaded into a shipping container with other relief supplies before setting sail for the Bahamas.

 

A Note From Pastor Julio Brutus, Caribbean Director for Clean the World

Dear friends:

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Jeremie is one of the worst-hit towns. (Photo: AFP)

It is with a great deal of sadness and a broken heart that I must inform you of the status of our beloved nation of Haiti. Adding to the pain of this misery-stricken country, Hurricane Matthew made landfall near Les Anglais, Haiti Tuesday, October 4 at 7 a.m. This storm is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in Haiti since Cleo in 1964.

As many of you are already aware, this country has yet to recover from the earthquake back in 2010, which left a death toll estimated to be between 100,000 and 160,000. Soon after the earthquake of 2010 there was a cholera outbreak that affected the entire island killing thousands.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Matthew at this very moment, the death toll continues to rise. There has been a loss of communication and severe power outage across the areas affected, but there are a number of media outlets that are currently reporting the death toll to be approximately 800 people. Some 50 people were reported killed in the town of Roche-a-Bateau alone. The nearby city of Jeremie saw 80 percent of its buildings leveled. In Sud province, 30,000 homes were destroyed. Most of the deaths in Haiti were in towns and fishing villages around the southern coast, with many killed by falling trees, flying debris and swollen rivers.

It is imperative for us to pray for our brothers and sisters in Haiti, especially those directly affected by Hurricane Matthew. In the aftermath of this storm I leave you with this scripture:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” – Matthew 25:35

Pastor Julio Brutus
Caribbean Director
Clean the World

Hygiene Kits: A Holiday Gift for Your Community

avro_hygiene_kit_eventFootball season just started. Kids are back in school. And you finally had your first pumpkin latte of the year. So that means the holidays will be here before you can say “Black Friday.” As you plan your company’s holiday party, consider doing something a little different and including a give-back element with Clean the World’s Hygiene Kit Program.

Along with the eggnog, karaoke, and gift exchange, you and your colleagues can assemble hygiene kits in your office or at a holiday party. Completed packages go to a shelter, food pantry, or other support organization in your local community.

Clean the World provides the hygiene items, zipper bags, instructions on how to assemble the kits, and tips for running a successful event – all for a small administrative fee to cover supplies and shipping expenses. Options include both our standard kit, and a brand new children’s kit with special items for the little ones.

During the cold and flu season, we repeatedly hear how important it is to wash our hands regularly.

Unfortunately, that is easier said than done for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. People who are homeless or going through a financial crisis don’t always have access to soap and other hygiene products. However, your organization can help offer hope and health by building and donating hygiene kits to those who are at risk for hygiene-related illnesses.

For more information on hosting a hygiene kit event at your holiday party – or anytime – please contact us at sales@cleantheworld.org.

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.

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.

Girl Scouts Bring Hope to Swaziland through Soap

Sisters Taylor and Samantha Lane of Fairfax County, Virginia, visited the African country of Swaziland this summer on a hygiene mission.

As part of Samantha’s Girl Scout Gold Award project last year, both sisters traveled with Clean the World to the Dominican Republic to help distribute soap and teach the importance of hand-washing and good dental hygiene to over 1,500 kids in disadvantaged communities. During that visit, the sisters learned how a little idea could grow into something big. As they said on a recent call with Clean the World, “It is a big world with lots to fix, but if we take a small chunk, we can make a difference. Don’t be afraid to start small; it can compound infinitely.”

Here in their words is the story of the Lane sisters’ recent trip to Swaziland. They volunteered at Project Canaan, a land-development project supported by the UPS Foundation.


By Taylor and Samantha Lane

IMG_0622Our goal for volunteering in Swaziland was to bring all we learned with Clean the World in the Dominican Republic in 2015 to a new part of the world. After that life-changing experience, neither one of us wanted to stop spreading the word about the importance of hygiene.

In Swaziland, our mission was to bring Clean the World’s message of “hope through soap” as part of our effort to advance United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 3, which is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Swaziland is a country that faces many challenges. The country has the highest HIV rate in the world, leaving many children HIV positive and orphaned because their parents die from the virus.

Swaziland also has the highest rate of Tuberculosis in the world. The combination of being co-infected with TB and HIV, as is common in Swaziland, leaves people at a high risk of mortality. Providing basic education on the importance of hygiene, including hand washing, can help prevent the spread of disease.

Knowing that, we traveled to Swaziland to help provide this type of education. Through community outreach, we taught Swazis about the importance of hygiene. Swaziland, like several other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is also grappling with one of the worst droughts in history. Consequently, many Swazis have been unable to farm to sustain themselves. Hunger is a very real problem in communities across Swaziland, with 69 percent of the population living below the poverty line and most depending on international food programs to survive. Because good nutrition is essential to good health, we also went out into various communities to provide and Clean the World hygiene kits.

Women and girls do not have equal rights under the law in Swaziland and are therefore often hardest hit in terms of their access to food and medicine. Our whole experience in Swaziland was eye-opening regarding the suffering that exists and the basic inequalities that make life even harder for women and girls. That said, we both came away empowered in that we were able to engage, albeit in little ways when compared to the magnitude of the problems, to try to show that girls like us can help change the world for the better.

Clean the World was our inspiration for spreading the word about the power of soap to bring hope.

Taylor Lane graduated from George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church, Virginia, this June and is headed to Dartmouth College this fall. Samantha Lane is a junior at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia.

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AdvoCare ‘Ladies Alive’ Attendees Assemble 32,000 Hygiene Kits for Families in Need

advocareAdvoCare, a premier health and wellness company, recently donated more than 32,000 care packages to 11 women’s and homeless shelters after a series of Clean the World Hygiene Kit events. AdvoCare Independent Distributors assembled the kits in April during the company’s nationwide series of women-led events: Ladies Alive.

“No one should ever go without basic hygiene products. It is a privilege for us to partner with Clean the World and provide these items to people who are struggling to meet their family’s basic needs due to whatever their life circumstances may be,” said Allison Levy, executive vice president and chief legal officer.

Ladies Alive events inspire, encourage and empower women by providing tangible solutions for dealing with stresses related to poor health, a shortage of time and money, or simply a lost passion for life.

“There is a massive need for personal hygiene items among displaced, homeless, and underemployed women in the United States,” said Shawn Seipler, founder and executive director of Clean the World. “It’s an honor to team with AdvoCare on this project. We applaud the company’s commitment to social responsibility and its efforts to help women and families in need.”

More than 19,000 women registered for the events in nine cities: San Diego, Kansas City, Tacoma, Nashville, Columbus, Dallas, Philadelphia, Orlando and Rochester. AdvoCare distributed the kits to local shelters that provide help to victims of domestic violence or families on the verge of becoming homeless:

  • Homeless Families Foundations (Columbus)
  • Operation Breakthrough and Giving the Basics (Kansas City)
  • Nashville Rescue Mission (Nashville)
  • Becky’s House and San Diego Dream Center (San Diego)
  • Tacoma Rescue Mission • Homeless Veterans Service of Dallas (Dallas)
  • Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida (Orlando)
  • Families Forward Philadelphia
  • Women’s Shelter, Inc. (Rochester)