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Providing soap to each household and create the habit to use it before and after every significant event.

Our idea is to educate Moms and children to WASH HANDS WITH SOAP. This behavioral change would tackles the problem of SPREADING DISEASE IN CHILDREN UNDER 5 years old which would improve health and save the lives of children. Healthy children can go to school and learn. Well body = sharp brain. Brains move ideas & ideas move the economy. Diarrhoea disease & respiratory infections continue to be the leading cause of preventable death in children under the age of 5 in developing countries. According to the research, simple use of soap during hand washing can significantly reduce the risk of disease by soil-transmitted helminth infections and death in children.

Photo of Elisabeth Anne Delgado
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The idea is to follow in footsteps of people behind those that bring in clean water for example and use that positive energy initiated by bringing in clean water to that particular village, and create a new habit which entails washing hands with soap before and after every significant event.

It will succeed because it is being done already in different parts of the world and medical research has been done before showing how effective soap use is in fighting diarrheal disease in children under 5 years of age. Diarrheal disease is the number one killer of children under 5 years of age. 

Questions for the community? Is everyone willing to volunteer social media time and help spread the news of this effective way of saving lives? You can help us while you sit on sofa watching TV, resting and speaking with friends. It is time to hit Facebook and activate your Empathy button. Together we can save the children. 

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

Children living in the poorest nations of the world will benefit from this simple habit forming task. All you need is water and soap. Our idea is to follow in the footsteps of other NGO's like and after they install the new water wells or fountains, we come in with the soap to teach mothers of children under 5 about the importance of washing hands. It takes approximately 6-8 weeks to create a habit. The idea is to go village by village and explain the importance of washing hands to the mothers and also explain the dire consequences of not washing hands after and before each significant event ( going to toilet, washing baby bottom, fixing food, dealing with live animals etc). We could even teach the mothers how to make their own soap. The process is not difficult. Someone clever could even create a business.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

All we need is soap and about 6-8 weeks on the ground. Upon arrival we would create a study of how many people in the village wash hands regularly and then repeat the study after 6-8 weeks. During that time we would be able to see if diarrhoea cases have decreased. Creating this habit is going to a life saver and it will be successful because mothers will understand its importance. Evidence of soaps importance can be found in Lancet-Global Health and in other research written about the importance of using soap to kill pathogens.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

We would need adequate funding to cover costs of travel and living and funds to cover costs of making an advertising campaign to promote soap use. Funds would be equally necessary to cover costs of acquiring material or supplies while on the ground. We would need help to connect with an NGO like to follow in their footsteps. We would need a team of volunteers to help implement the project in different villages of India, Africa or Latin America.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.
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Team (2)

Elisabeth Anne's profile
Guy's profile
Guy Viner

Role added on team:

"Guy's advice was clear and concise and well taken. He added creativity and common sense to our idea. He has done well. I hope we can collaborate on some ideas, if not here than at another time. :)"


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Hello Elisabeth, interesting post! Any chance you could find an image to go along with it? Images help grab attention and tell a story with higher impact. You should be able to use the Update Entry button on the right of your post and follow the instructions to add images from there. We know occasionally people have issues uploading images so let us know by hitting the Feedback button at the bottom of most pages of our site if you face any problems. Looking forward to seeing more of your inspiring insights on OpenIDEO.

Photo of Elisabeth Anne Delgado

Thank you for this tip. I welcome all suggestions since this is our first attempt with OpenIDEO. I find the process a bit confusing actually.

Photo of Daniel Martinez da Cruz

Hey there Elisabeth,

Your idea is interesting as not many people may realise how important it is to just wash your hands before and after to prevent the spread of bacteria like that. I think because people in more privileged areas of the world dont think about it a lot as public toilets are usually regularly cleaned at least once a day.

We have been creating this concept all based around books that inform the parents about key things like this, but also create opportunity for children to learn while the parents reads to them, but also creates times of play for the children and 1-on-1 time wth their children to strengthen that parent/carer bond with the children.

It would be great if you could be involved in one of our books, and even have a book made purely on this idea.

a few things to think about perhaps:

How will you be getting people involved to help, or are you relying on an organisation you want to work with to provide the man-power?

If they cant provide enough help, what is your next step? (maybe look to find volunteers from the local area like teachers and/or nurses who are willing to help)

If you need to ask for volunteers that perhaps have no experience how will you deliver training to them so that they are more effective once your out there?

Maybe there is a cheaper/quicker way to test it in your own country, and instead of focusing on the results of diarrhoea bacteria, perhaps you could focus on other bacteria that is commonly found in your local area, and see if they decline as it would be a quick way to see if its effective maybe?

Feel free to come look at my page to see our groups work called JAMBO and maybe we can talk more and build something greater!

Photo of Elisabeth Anne Delgado

Hi Daniel, it is interesting that you should mention creating games and writing a book related to this idea. We have a book idea, actually an activity book in the works already. I have contacted an artist who has done some impressive drawings which would be colored in by the children. I would be very happy to discuss collaborating with you on a book of this type.
Our plan is to give the book away at no cost. Crayons or coloring pencils would be included.
The idea of using different creative games to teach this habit is also something we have toyed with. We would work with local volunteers and volunteers from a medical school that is collaborating with us on areas of global health.
How do you see you and I working together?

Thank you for your comments.