Award-winning WASH communication campaigns that we love.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) communication campaigns are essential in promoting good hygiene practices and reducing the spread of waterborne diseases. Over the years, several award-winning campaigns have demonstrated the power of effective communication in promoting behaviour change and improving public health. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective:


WASH SMS campaign, Uganda

In 2010, UNICEF launched the WASH SMS campaign in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment in Uganda. In this campaign, mobile phones were used to promote hygiene and sanitation practices in rural communities that had limited access to water and sanitation facilities. By sending SMS messages about handwashing, safe drinking water, and other hygiene practices to subscribers, this campaign successfully increased awareness of WASH practices and promoted behaviour change among rural communities. In 2011, the campaign won the United Nations Public Service Award for Improving the Delivery of Public Services.


Key to the success of this campaign was its careful consideration of the target audience. Using mobile technology (widely used throughout Uganda and accessible in remote areas), it sent targeted messages to specific individuals such as pregnant women and mothers of young children. Creating a sense of relevance and urgency, the campaign helped increase the likelihood of behaviour change.


Domestos Toilet Academy, Vietnam

In 2012, Unilever launched the Domestos Toilet Academy WASH campaign in Vietnam. Training local entrepreneurs to build and maintain toilets in their communities, this campaign aimed to promote the use of toilets and good sanitation practices. It also provided education and awareness-raising activities on hygiene practices. In 2015, it won the Guardian Sustainable Business Award for Social Impact for successfully widening access to sanitation facilities and promoting behaviour change among communities in Vietnam.

Taking a unique approach to addressing the sanitation crisis, the Toilet Academy trained and empowered local entrepreneurs to become toilet business owners. In addition to improving access to sanitation, this campaign created employment opportunities and stimulated economic growth.


Wash United menstrual hygiene management campaign, India

In 2013, a menstrual hygiene management campaign was launched in India by Wash United, a German NGO. This campaign aims to promote menstrual hygiene management and break the taboo surrounding this topic by using sports-based activities such as cricket and football to encourage men and boys to take part in the conversation around menstruation. In terms of breaking the stigma around menstruation and promoting behaviour change among communities in India, this campaign has been highly successful. In 2016, it won the WASH Media Award for Best Innovation.


HappyTap campaign

The HappyTap campaign is a WASH campaign launched in Vietnam by WaterSHED, a social enterprise focused on promoting sustainable WASH practices. This campaign aims to promote handwashing with soap among children. To make this activity more fun and engaging, the campaign uses a portable sink known as the “HappyTap”, which is designed to be attractive and easy to use for children. In 2018, the HappyTap campaign won the WASH Innovation Award for its innovative approach to encouraging children to use soap when washing their hands.


The Toilet Board Coalition campaign

The Toilet Board Coalition, a global non-profit organisation that focuses on promoting sustainable sanitation practices, launched a campaign that aims to promote the use of toilets and good sanitation practices by engaging businesses and investors in the sanitation sector. Adopting a market-based approach, it promotes behaviour change as well as investment in sanitation products and services. Its innovative approach saw it win the 2017 Water Innovation Award.


In promoting hygienic practices and curbing the transmission of waterborne diseases, the role of WASH-focused communication campaigns cannot be understated. The ability of these campaigns to encourage behavioural changes that improve public health outcomes, including reduction of open defecation and improved hygiene practices, is the crux of their success.



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