In March, Clean the World launched our “Soap in Schools” program in Kenya with the support of Starwood Foundation. During the nine-month hygiene education program, we provide soap and hygiene education to more than 4,000 primary school children who live in extreme poverty.
The program started in February with a baseline study of students in 12 schools. We discovered that nearly 70 percent had been sick with a hygiene-related illness in the previous month – and nearly 40 percent missed a week of school or more as a result. After that study, we designed various interventions to implement in elementary and middle school classrooms for the targeted group of students. Teachers and school nurses distribute soap to the children, make sure soap is available at hand washing stations at the schools, and teach proper hand washing skills every few weeks to help kids remember why it is so important.
We conducted the first 90-day assessment at the end of May, and we see considerable progress. There was a 58 percent reduction in hygiene-related illnesses among those 4,000 students – a huge decrease in such a short period! This success is due to the ongoing hand washing education and enforcement, and the constant availability of soap in the schools.
We are thrilled with the outcomes so far. Our next assessment will take place in August, and will share those results with you as soon as we have them. In the meantime, we are about to launch the same Soap in Schools program in Tanzania. Stay tuned for more information on the baseline results and program outcomes.