Today on Global Handwashing Day, Sesame Workshop India, the non-profit
educational media organization behind Sesame Street, is launching a campaign with support from the
Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition, a collaboration between Unilever and the UK Government’s
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), to drive awareness of good hygiene & disease
prevention practices. The multi-media campaign supports the Global Handwashing Day theme of “H is for
As part of the campaign, Sesame Workshop India has developed simple yet engaging online resources like
videos, posters, and e-books in Hindi, Marathi, Telugu and Tamil. The materials will reach families via social
media, YouTube, radio and through direct services in communities. A new Hindi version of the Sesame Street
“H for Handwashing” innovative digital games, originally supported by soap brand Lifebuoy will also be
distributed in schools. At the heart of the campaign are the colourful, beloved Sesame Muppets, who model
positive health and hygiene behaviours for young children and families.
The Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) was formed in 2020 by Unilever and the UK
Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). It was developed in response to the
COVID-19 pandemic, to limit the spread of the virus in low and middle-income countries and has reached
over 1 billion people with lifesaving behaviour-change messaging, hygiene products and access to training
and education. Sesame Workshop, the parent organization of Sesame Workshop India, joined the HBCC
coalition to support the physical and mental health of children and families amid the pandemic.
Talking about the organization’s work with children in the space of health and hygiene, Sonali Khan,
Managing Director, Sesame Workshop India said “Our goal is to promote hygiene knowledge, attitudes and
practices among children and families and meet the developmental needs of children. Through the Hygiene
Behaviour Change Coalition, we’re scaling our efforts to reach more children and families with critical health
and hygiene knowledge.”
The huge scope and the deployment of the HBCC programme would not have been possible without the
close collaboration of the public and private sectors. Unilever’s partnership with the FCDO, supported by
academic experts in behaviour change and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) at the London School of
Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), represents the UK’s largest public–private partnership established to
help slow the spread of the virus in vulnerable countries. The FCDO was well positioned to respond quickly
through its network of embassies and high commissions, as well as existing partnerships. With resources and
expertise in humanitarian programme delivery, they could help to rapidly deploy a global program. Coupled
with Unilever’s long history of promoting health hygiene practices and expertise in mass media and
campaign delivery, this was an effective partnership to reach the lives of young children through Sesame
Over the last 16 years, Sesame Workshop India has been reaching children and families via community
initiatives, Doordarshan network on TV and YouTube and other social media channels to have a measurable
impact on the overall health and development of children.
About the Hygiene & Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC):
The Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) is an award-winning public-private partnership founded
by Unilever and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Following the declaration
of a global pandemic in March 2020, the HBCC mounted a rapid response to limit the spread of COVID-19
through a novel combination of government funding with in-kind support from a private sector partner.
Between 2020 – 2021 this up to £100 million programme, delivered by 21 NGO’s and UN agencies working in
37 low- and middle-income countries, reached over 1 billion people with lifesaving behaviour-change
messaging, hygiene products and access to training and education.
In early 2022 the HBCC was extended with additional grant funding of up to £20 million in response to
Omicron and other new COVID-19 variants. This second round of the HBCC is designed to support
preparedness for future health-related outbreaks by strengthening local capacity. Working across 18
countries the programme also combines measures to tackle vaccine hesitancy and encourage vaccine uptake
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods &
Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 3.4 billion people every day.
Unilever has 148,000 employees and generated sales of €52.4 billion in 2021. Over half of its footprint is in
developing and emerging markets. They have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world –
including iconic global brands like Dove, Lifebuoy, Knorr, Magnum, OMO and Surf; and other brands such as
Love Beauty & Planet, Hourglass, Seventh Generation and The Vegetarian Butcher.
Unilever’s vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how their purpose-led,
future-fit business model drives superior performance. They have a long tradition of being a progressive,
responsible business. It goes back to the days of their founder William Lever, who launched the world’s first
purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it’s at the heart of how they run their
The Unilever Compass, Unilever’s sustainable business strategy, is set out to help deliver superior
performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:
The UK has been supporting the international response to the pandemic, using its diplomatic weight and
development expertise to help develop and distribute vaccines, promote water, sanitation and hygiene
services, support the global economy and encourage international collaboration. Global equitable access to
coronavirus vaccines is the key to eliminating the threat of the virus in the UK as well as overseas.
About Sesame Workshop India
Sesame Workshop – India is the Indian arm of Sesame Workshop, the internationally renowned non-profit
media and educational organization behind Sesame Street, the pioneering television show that has been
reaching and teaching children since 1969. We reach kids in their earliest years to provide them access to
life-changing early education, critical health lessons, and helpful tools for tough situations via a combination
of television, radio, digital media, mobile technologies, and community outreach across 11 states in India.
Since 2006, Sesame Workshop India has reached children through mass media including Galli Galli Sim Sim,
the local version of Sesame Street, and now reaches children with engaging and educational content
featuring the beloved Muppets of Sesame Street.