In 2001, diarrhea was the second-leading cause of death in children under age five in Indonesia and it affected five in 10 citizens. Many Indonesians were unaware of the best and least expensive way of preventing diarrhea: hand washing with soap. In fact, increasing hand washing with soap behaviors by mothers and caregivers could contribute to reducing the incidence of acute diarrheal disease by up to 47%.
KUIS recognized the need for a social marketing campaign to increase the correct practice of hand washing with soap.
Deep research revealed that the health situation in Indonesia required a multi-stakeholder campaign approach to reach mothers and adult caregivers, as well as key intermediaries and influencers, in a cost-effective manner.
A campaign strategy was developed to inspire action by turning hand washing with soap into a social movement while empowering mothers and caregivers to believe the solution was in their hands. The campaign was developed using a grassroots approach — community leaders at the local level were engaged in shaping the messages and defining the communications tools that would resonate with the target audience.
Partnerships with community leaders, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based organizations, media and associations secured community mobilization through integrating the campaign’s core messages and materials into ongoing programs. The campaign also included educational road shows supported by local celebrities and activities such as local competitions. Radio programs across 13 stations helped amplify outreach to the community.
Additionally, the campaign received important support from the private sector through partnerships with corporations such as Unilever, who incorporated the campaign messages into their own soap-product campaigns.
In the final phase of the campaign, the movement gained considerable momentum and was expanded to the national level through celebration festivals.
The campaign sparked community action by creating a “Hand Washing with Soap Movement,” which reached 10 million people and was supported by government, the media and private sector partners. The campaign increased awareness of the benefits of hand washing with soap from 45% to 85% among the targeted audience; their knowledge of how to wash their hands properly from 55% to 63%; and their practice of hand washing with soap from 35% to 56%.