Unilever teams up with UK government for international handwashing campaign

Global programme aims to reach a billion people to tackle the spread of coronavirus

Unilever has announced that it is working with the UK government to fund a global handwashing programme to urgently tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The conglomerate, whose brands include soap label Lifebuoy, said it hopes to raise awareness among one billion people worldwide to ensure that people are washing their hands with soap regularly, as well as disinfecting surfaces.

Such support is claimed to be vital to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the developing world, as well as to limit further spread in the UK.

The programme is backed by funding of up to £50m from both the Department for International Development and Unilever. It will also provide more than 20 million hygiene products in the developing world – including in areas with little or no sanitation.

The mass awareness campaign will be led by Unilever brands Lifebuoy and Domestos, which makes bleach, and will run across TV, radio, print and digital media in countries in Africa and Asia, including Kenya, Ghana and Bangladesh, with messages tailored to each country.

“Lifebuoy and Domestos have a proven track record of running hygiene awareness and education programmes successfully, and we hope that the work we will be able to drive jointly with UK aid will help save lives that could otherwise be impacted by coronavirus,” said Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope.

“As the world’s biggest soap company, we have a responsibility to help make soap and hygiene products more readily available, and to use our expertise to teach people to wash their hands effectively, whichever brand they choose to use.”