Hygiene with Chhota Bheem is an interactive four-week, game-based curriculum designed to encourage handwashing with soap and toilet use among children ages 8-11 years old living in Tamil Nadu, India. As of 2015, 20% of all global children-under-five mortality from diarrhea or pneumonia occurs in India. Handwashing with soap and improved sanitation are effective measures for reducing illness and death from diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections.
Hygiene with Chhota Bheem is centered around characters from Chhota Bheem, a popular children’s television show in India, working to defeat an evil Germ Wizard who has been spreading germs and filth through their village, Dholakpur. In each lesson, children watch narrated stories involving Chhota Bheem, play games and activities related to the stories, and take part in weekly challenges, such as drawing pictures of the important handwashing times and showing them to family, to defeat the Germ Wizard from the stories. Learning goals are also reinforced through a digital Android game.
The curriculum teaches children how to use a squat toilet and wash hands with soap, when it is important to wash hands with soap in order to prevent germ transfer, why handwashing and toilet use are important for individual and community health, and how to convince friends and family to practice healthy hygiene and sanitation. It incorporates learning about changes at the individual level that children are more able to implement, such as making soapy water bottles to conserve water and soap or handwashing with wood ash when soap is not readily available.
Hygiene with Chhota Bheem was developed in partnership with Green Gold Animation, the Indian Red Cross Society, the Mary Anne Charity Trust, and a Working Group of NGOs and civil society groups dedicated to improving sanitation and hygiene in Tamil Nadu. It was playtested over several months with primary school children in Tamil Nadu.
The curriculum is being studied in a 30-school pilot study in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu in December 2017 - March 2018 to evaluate its effectiveness in generating learning and behavior change among primary school children. Results will be released in Fall 2018.
To download the curriculum materials in English or Tamil, click the links in the "Resources" section below. Download the Hygiene with Chhota Bheem Android mobile game in the Google Play Store here.