How Reckitt collaborated with young people to change hygiene & sanitation behaviours in Tanzania.
As a global health, hygiene & nutrition business, Reckitt is driven by their purpose to protect, heal and nurture in their relentless pursuit of a cleaner and healthier world. Together, Reckitt and Raleigh delivered a Skills-Based Volunteering programme in Tanzania, the 2019 Global Volunteer Challenge, which set out to improve hygiene behaviours and prevent diseases and illnesses such as cholera and diarrhoea through developing a series of new behaviour change interventions during a 2-week innovation sprint.
The subsequent ideas were then fully developed in the following months, with remote input from Reckitt volunteers, and then trialled from September 2019 to December 2020. SWASH Heroes used the influential power of children in the home to influence “Mamas”, in the hope they would demand more of the household budget to be spent on hygiene; we targeted “Babas” with a campaign to make them see the importance of practices that help their family’s hygiene, and to encourage them to spend more of the household budget; and finally, we worked with local vendors so they could see the market opportunities of stocking such hygiene products.
The company benefited in many ways. 94% of Reckitt volunteers agreed that they felt connected to Reckitt’s collective fight and business purpose (company baseline: 88%). 14 months on from the Global Volunteer Challenge there was a 92% retention rate of employees who participated in the programme, compared to company baseline of 83%.
A testament to the programme’s success, in November 2020 the Global Volunteer Challenge won Gold in the ‘Best Use of Innovation in Employee Engagement’ category at the Engage Awards. Employees have been so enthusiastic about the subsequent WASH interventions tested that 10 of them have been fundraising for Raleigh and will run the 2021 London Landmarks Half Marathon for Raleigh.
Reckitt’s strategic focus on SDG 6 (Clean Water & Sanitation) extended further into the partnership when future leaders of the business took part in Raleigh Expedition programmes as Volunteer Project Managers, developing their leadership whilst also helping increase access to safe water and sanitation facilities, and raising awareness of the importance of hand hygiene.
In 2019 Reckitt generously supported four Raleigh National Youth Society members to attend the global One Young World Summit as Scholars, demonstrating our shared belief in the importance of giving young leaders a platform.
“This kind of programme shows employees that the purpose of our company is a real thing, that we bring it to life and it’s not only words.”
Zuzanna, Reckitt employee