About Handwashing with Ananse

Handwashing with Ananse is a modular, storybook game that teaches Ghanaian children Why to handwash with soap (HWWS), How to HWWS, and When to HWWS. It is based on traditional Ghanaian storytelling techniques (including song and dance) and the plot centers around Ananse, a traditional character in Ghanaian folklore.

The game was designed in partnership with UNICEF Ghana and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre.

Research Evaluation on Impact

In partnership with the Institute for Community Health and TNS Ghana, the Engagement Lab conducted a full evaluation of the Handwashing with Ananse curriculum in 20 primary schools from two districts in Central region of Ghana and one district in Eastern region of Ghana. The curriculum was facilitated in 10 intervention schools between 9 and 30 March 2017, and 10 additional schools, which did not receive the curriculum, were used as a comparison group. Schools were randomly assigned to groups. Lack of handwashing infrastructure was a criteria for inclusion in the study. All 20 schools were equipped with two Tippy Tap stations with two Tippy Taps each prior to baseline. Outcomes were evaluated at baseline, two weeks post-intervention (posttest 1), and 15 weeks post-intervention (posttest 2). Measurements included surveys delivered orally to children, structured observations of Tippy Taps, structured observations of the curriculum being implemented, focus group discussions immediately following intervention in the treatment group, and sensors and cameras mounted to Tippy Taps to count handwashing events.

Handwashing with Ananse has shown to be an effective intervention in several important ways: changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior led to a significant decrease in self-reported illness of 8.2% more than the comparison group at posttest 2. The study demonstrates a significant increase in knowledge of how to HWWS; peer-to-peer learning; and HWWS practice. See the Resources section below for a full report on the study's outcomes.

Download the Handwashing with Ananse Curriculum

To download the curriculum materials, click the link in the "Resources" section below. Join a Facebook group for facilitators here.

  • An image from the Ananse storybook
  • Children in Ghana washing their hands as an action in the game
  • The game consists of many physical activities to engage youth

    Click here to download the Handwashing with Ananse curriculum materials for facilitators.

  • Handwashing with Ananse Materials
  • Click here for a full report on the evaluation of Handwashing with Ananse in 20 primary schools from two districts in Central region of Ghana and one district in Eastern region of Ghana.

  • Handwashing with Ananse Evaluation

Handwashing with Ananse News

UNICEF and Climate Centre Introduce Serious Games in Ghana

UNICEF and Climate Centre Introduce Serious Games in Ghana

RCRC Climate Centre address health risks in Ghana through serious play

Ghana Uses Serious Games to Address Health Risks

Ghana Uses Serious Games to Address Health Risks

UNICEF article on the community problems in Ghana and how they can be solved through games

Using Innovative sensor technology to evaluate ‘Handwashing with Ananse’ Games

Using Innovative sensor technology to evaluate ‘Handwashing with Ananse’ Games

UNICEF article on using sensor technology to measure handwashing behavior

Handwashing with Spider-Man? A new serious game to teach children essential hygiene practices

Handwashing with Spider-Man? A new serious game to teach children essential hygiene practices

UNICEF article describing the development of Handwashing with Ananse

"Handwashing with Ananse" Announcement

"Handwashing with Ananse" Announcement

Announcement of a new game to help promote hand-washing in Ghana