Innovation That Matters

From South Africa, soap-encased toy aims to improve kids' hygiene

Work & Lifestyle

Hope Soap features an encased toy inside, which can only be used if children wear down the soap by washing their hands regularly.

Parents in the western world know how difficult it is to get kids to wash their hands regularly. In poorer countries, where a lack of sanitation and prevalence of disease is more common, this can cause life-threatening illnesses. The Hope Soap aims to remedy this by encasing a toy in the cleaning product, which can only be used if children wear down the soap.

Developed by creative agency Y&R in a collaboration with the nonprofits Safety Lab, Dare to Share and Blikkiesdorp4Hope, the idea behind the soap came about as an attempt to tackle the high rates of diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, cholera and pneumonia caused by poor sanitation in certain areas of South Africa. Washing hands is one of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain personal hygiene and stop the spread of these illnesses. Created for the Blikkiesdorp settlement in the west of the country, the soap comes in large bars and a variety of colourful shades. Locked inside is a toy – cars for boys and dolls or Hello Kitty faces for girls – that can only be obtained through continued and regular use of the soap. The video below explains more about the project:

According to the campaign leaders, hygiene levels have improved by 70 percent among kids in the community and respiratory infections are down 75 percent. The intiative has also received numerous accolades, including two Cannes Lions awards and two Loeries. Could this concept be scaled to help more disadvantaged communities, or even parents in the developed world?

Spotted by: Murray Orange



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