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Handwashing with Ananse

Partner Organizations

Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Center
UNICEF Ghana

Project Leads

Eric Gordon
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Problem Space

Diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia are the two leading causes of death in children ages one month to five years worldwide, resulting in about six million deaths in children-under-five each year. In 2015 alone, approximately 10,000 children-under-five died from diarrhea and pneumonia in Ghana. Handwashing with soap and water (HWWS) is a low-cost, highly effective method for preventing illness and death from diarrheal and respiratory diseases. Handwashing with Ananse seeks to increase awareness and practice of HWWS by providing children an interactive and playful way to learn about handwashing, share what they learn with peers and family, and increase their practice of HWWS.

Proposed Intervention

Handwashing with Ananse is a modular, four-week game-based curriculum for 7-11-year-old children that teaches children why, how, and when to wash their hands with water and soap. The curriculum is organized by an overarching narrative, wherein students compete to outsmart Ananse the Spider. Throughout the four-week lesson plan, students are exposed to traditional Ghanaian storytelling, song, dance, and games to orient them to the subject. The curriculum is organized by an overarching narrative, wherein students compete to outsmart Ananse the Spider. Throughout the four-week lesson plan, students are exposed to traditional Ghanaian storytelling, song, dance, and games to orient them to the subject.

Social Impact

Outcomes were evaluated at baseline, two weeks post-intervention (post-test 1), and 15 weeks post-intervention (post-test 2). 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 post-test. The study demonstrates a significant increase in knowledge of how to HWWS, peer-to-peer learning, and HWWS practice.

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