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Announcing #BeatGermsWithBheem, A Week of Online and Offline Hygiene Education and Advocacy

June 19, 2019

Germs can’t beat the Bheem Team! Today, the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, in collaboration with our on-ground partners the Mary Anne Charity Trust (MACT), are excited to announce #BeatGermsWithBheem.

From June 24th to June 28th, this online and offline campaign will celebrate children as change agents bringing sanitation and hygiene best practices to their communities.

From numerous additional trainings and community-facilitated workshops happening all week long in Tamil Nadu to a ton of exciting content celebrating the project’s impact on social media, we’re inviting everyone to join the Bheem Team and help young people develop the tools they need to advocate for their health!

What is Hygiene with Chhota Bheem?

The Hygiene with Chhota Bheem logo.

Hygiene with Chhota Bheem is a play-based learning program that features one of India’s most beloved children’s characters to teach students about the importance of handwashing and toilet use.

For the past two years, we’ve been very proud of the impact this learning program has made on the handwashing and sanitation knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of primary school children in Tamil Nadu, India.

Hygiene with Chhota Bheem has reached more than 10,000 students and been taught in more than 30 schools in Tamil Nadu. Our tie-in game for iOS and Android has been installed more than 25,000 times since its launch last year.

And regular community-led trainings in collaboration with NGOs in Tamil Nadu have trained more than 200 community health workers to advocate for healthy hygiene habits in their communities.

But we’re just getting started. Over the past year, we’ve been working hard to make Hygiene with Chhota Bheem even more impactful for communities in India, from incorporating co-design feedback from instructors and students to launching a new website that makes facilitation materials much easier to access.

Next week’s #BeatGermsWithBheem campaign aims to help ensure the long-term impact and sustainability of the program and bring powerful, proven hygiene education across India and the rest of the world!

Offline, in Tamil Nadu

On the ground, we’ve put together a robust week of hygiene education and advocacy programming that helps to encourage community members to spread the word about sanitation and hygiene best practices.

Firstly, we’re holding refresher training sessions for schools in the Tiruvallur district that already received training in 2018. The aim of the refresher training is to review, reinforce and upgrade the existing knowledge and skills of teachers, who can then take the curriculum to new student and community groups who were not part of the 2018 pilot study.

Students gather around a teacher to wash their hands with a soapy bottle.

Additionally, we’re helping teach schools and students to make their own soapy bottles, a low-cost alternative to bar soaps. Students have fun making soapy bottles in their schools and use them as a replacement for soap. Learning the art of making soapy bottles will increase the habit of handwashing in a sustainable way.

Further, we’ll also be engaging in extensive community outreach through our partner organizations, bringing the curriculum further than ever before.

Community workers play an essential role in advocating for the importance of handwashing and toilet use in the areas they work. They’ll reach out to new communities —especially children — to talk about the correct methods and vital importance of handwashing and toilet use.

Online, Around The World

But our week of celebration doesn’t stop there! Online and on social media, we’ll be sharing a ton of exciting new stories and resources that further underscore the impact this project has for communities in India.

The splash page for the brand new Hygiene with Chhota Bheem website, available to access now.

Firstly, we’re excited to share that our brand new Hygiene with Chhota Bheem website is available to access, starting right now.

This brand new website is available for the first time in three languages, English, Tamil, and Hindi, and makes accessing our free education resources, from storybooks to facilitation guides, easier for community advocates than ever.

We’ll also be sharing a number of in-depth blog articles right here on Medium on the project’s most exciting areas of growth over the course of the past year of development.

From the significance of our transmedia, play-based approach to hygiene education for effectively transforming children’s hygiene behaviors and attitudes, to a detailed look at the ways we’ve been able to scale this project’s impact thus far, these substantive updates provide a rigorous look at the factors that have made this project so effective.

And of course, we’ll be sharing and amplifying photos, stories, and updates about the activity happening on the ground on our social media platforms all week long!

Join the Bheem Team and Get Involved!

We’re really excited about the impact that Hygiene with Chhota Bheem has been able to have since its pilot in 2018. But to ensure a long, sustainable future for our impactful play-based curriculum, we need your help.

Are you ready to join the Bheem Team? Help us spread the word about the project and the amazing impact it’s making all week long by sharing our content with your colleagues or on social media! We’ve compiled all our resources into one easy-to-share link to make this super easy for you.

Know about any about other health and hygiene projects that are also making a positive impact? We’d love to hear about them!

Want to bring Hygiene with Chhota Bheem to your organization or community? Let’s talk! Shoot us an email and we’ll be happy to have a conversation about the best way for your team to get involved!

To learn more about Hygiene with Chhota Bheem, you can check out the project’s new website or download the app for iOS and Android. To keep up with the latest from the Engagement Lab, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter.

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