According to a recent UNICEF Report, around 818 million children in the world lack basic handwashing facilities at their schools, which puts them at increased risk of COVID-19 and other transmittable diseases. Furthering its global mission to improve handwashing behaviour especially amongst children, Hindustan Unilever Limited’s number one hygiene soap brand, Lifebuoy kicked-off the largest virtual hygiene drive in the Metaverse - Gift of the Ganga.
This unique Minecraft build aims to turn germ-breeding pollution into germ-protection, thereby turning pollution that is bad into germ protection that is good. On ‘Gift of the Ganga’, gamers are invited to fish out plastic pollution from the mighty river recreated in the metaverse. In exchange, Lifebuoy will clear an equivalent and more amount from the actual river.
On-ground, in partnership with Swayambhu, a social enterprise and Central Government’s Namami Gange Programme, Lifebuoy will roll out plastic waste collection and upcycling efforts in one of the most afflicted parts of the river – the Haridwar bend. The plastic collected will be supplemented by a segregation process of identifying, classifying, dividing, and sorting so that it can then be sent onward for upcycling. To drive awareness and action, Lifebuoy also encourages physical participation from people from all walks of life to participate in the actual clean-up drive on-ground to volunteer.
With Lifebuoy’s single-minded focus to prevent illness by improving hygiene behaviours among children this plastic once segregated will be then upcycled to build handwashing stations for under-served schools. By providing access to handwashing stations with soap along with the brands proven handwashing programs, Lifebuoy will equip thousands of children with the most essential provision to fight illness causing germs and stay free from infections. In keeping with our mission to also negate any risk to the environment, the brand has ensured that the upcycled plastic boards used to create handwashing stations can be further crushed and upcycled more than 5 times.
According to Parnil Sarin, Global Brand Director, Unilever, “Pollutants of all sorts are breeding grounds for illness causing germs. Combined with the lack of practicing hand hygiene at the right occasions daily, this leads to multiple preventable illnesses in children. Lifebuoy has always believed in going beyond creating a discourse on the importance of soap and hand-hygiene. Year on year the brand stays committed to creating and launching platforms to further amplify and engage people at scale.”
Over the last century, Lifebuoy has been committed to building hygiene habits for over 1 billion people by providing access to handwashing facilities and educating children and mothers through numerous proven and localized programs. The ‘Gift of the Ganga’, is one of Lifebuoy’s largest and most unique efforts to engage with young gaming audiences and inspire a behavioural shift towards hygiene and handwashing.
Sarin adds, “We are inviting people from all walks of life to help us on our mission to prevent illness. The Minecraft campaign is a great example of how we are leveraging the power of technology to educate people about the importance of hygiene online, while also highlighting the importance of waste segregation and its upcycling potential on-ground. By making learning about hygiene fun, interactive and collaborative we hope to instil healthy habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
In under 5 days since the game went live, ‘Gift of the Ganga’ has seen participation of gamers from 10 countries. This includes top gamers and influencers who have together raised awareness and collected nearly 12 tonnes of plastic waste, equivalent to around 6 lakh 1.5 litre PET plastic bottles from the Ganga. Lifebuoy urges many more gamers to join in the collection, as the higher the amount of waste collected; the higher the number of handwash stations the brand will be able to build to help thousands of children across under-served schools in the vicinity/country.