Lifebuoy Event Press Release


February 17, 2015

Lifebuoy aims to change the hand washing behaviour of 15 million South Africans             by 2020.

Lifebuoy reaffirmed its commitment to championing health and hygiene in South Africa at a media event hosted at the Soweto Theatre, Johannesburg yesterday.

Guests included Mr Vuyani Mpofu, Director-General, Gauteng Education Department, Dr. Barney Selebano, Acting Head of Department Gauteng Health, Shirley Cramer, CEO of the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in London, Dr. Myriam Sidibe, Unilever Hygiene and Nutrition Social Mission Director for Africa, media and Yvonne Chaka-Chaka.

Dr. Myriam Sidibe – a keynote speaker – communicated Lifebuoy’s continued commitment to investing in the ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ initiative. Launched in 2012, it has become the world’s largest hygiene promotion programme to date and has so far reached over 183 million people globally. In South Africa specifically, 5.2 million.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five. The Lifebuoy ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ initiative is focused on two core pillars; changing the behaviour of schoolchildren and their parents via an interactive schools solution as well as affecting the behaviour of new mothers and health care workers via a neonatal programme. The programme illustrates the importance and benefits of adopting a regular hand washing campaign as well as practically demonstrates the correct method of hand washing with soap and running water to eradicate germ carrying bacteria.  The hand washing educational programme is centred on changing behaviours.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Barney Selebano, Acting Head of Department Gauteng Health, said, “The first step to reducing infection is washing your hands. We need to change our behaviour and lifestyles, so it's important that people understand that as mothers, fathers and brothers, we should be showing our babies how to wash their hands. People should treat washing their hands like breathing. You don¹t have to think about it, it's natural and you do it all the time. This campaign focuses on children under five. When you start early, you are ensuring that they are a generation that understands the importance of washing hands, and they can take it to the           next level.”

In recognition of Lifebuoy’s hygiene education efforts with respect to hand washing with soap as a disease-prevention measure, Lifebuoy has become the first soap brand to receive the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) newest accreditation status for campaigns.  

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive of RSPH, who is based in London, attended the event. In her address she communicated the purpose of the RSPH and the reason for Lifebuoy’s accreditation. She said, “Lifebuoy’s successful campaign to educate people on the importance of hand washing with soap is one that helps further our purpose of promoting public health and as such has the full support of the RSPH. We are pleased to be able to lend our credentials and expertise to such a worthy cause and look forward to working closely together to help save more lives.”

The event also marked the unveiling of Lifebuoy soap bars new formulation. Every Lifebuoy bar now contains Activ Naturol ShieldTM.  It is Lifebuoy’s best ever germ protection against 10 infection-causing germs, even stronger ones.

After the formal presentations, learners from the Lethabo Primary School, Soweto, joined the guests for a fun, yet very educational interactive session as they demonstrated what they had learnt from the “Help a Child Reach 5” initiative and imparted their knowledge to the adults.

Zoe Gruss, Beauty South Africa said, “I¹m actually quite speechless. It¹s just so amazing that a little thing like children teaching you the five simple steps of washing your hands correctly can make such a difference in the world today and in the society we live in. I can¹t wait to share this with everyone I know and educate as many people as I can.”

Adiel Ismail, Senior Writer, Health 24, said, “Often we focus on very big news events or news health events and we forget about the basic hygiene of just washing your hands. We should congratulate Lifebuoy and Unilever for taking us back to the basics of hygiene.”


About Lifebuoy

Lifebuoy is one of the oldest international brands in the World. Established in 1894 by Lever Brothers, Lifebuoy is one of the jewels in Unilever’s Crown. Lifebuoy’s 110 year old core positioning is Championing Health and Hygiene. Lifebuoy’s Handwashing With Soap intervention programme has helped to save hundreds of lives in South Africa and is striving to achieve the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG4) – to reduce child mortality rates by two-thirds by 2015.

About Unilever South Africa

Unilever South Africa (Pty Ltd) is one of the largest FMCG companies in South Africa. The Company is over 100 years old, with brands like Sunlight, OMO, Lux, Knorr, Vaseline, Shield, Sunsilk, Flora etc. that are household names throughout the country. Unilever South Africa has over 3500 employees based across two offices and five manufacturing locations in South Africa. Unilever has been rated as the Top Employer in South Africa 2014/2015 for the second year in a row. For more information visit –

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit



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