For immediate release: June 4, 2012

Contact: Communications Manager, Project WET Foundation | 406-585-4115 | email

Rio de Janeiro, BrazilBozeman, Montana—Some 20,000 children and 1,000 teachers in 200 Rio de Janeiro primary schools will learn the importance of healthy habits with respect to water, sanitation and hygiene thanks to a grant from the Abbott Fund, Abbott's philanthropic foundation, to the Project WET Foundation. The innovative, customized water education program is expected to improve hygiene in schools and communities, reducing illness and school absenteeism and empowering action to solve critical issues with a strong focus on health impacts in communities as a result of behavior change.

"While marketing campaigns are commonly applied to promote healthy habits such as hand washing, we believe that educating children to understand the importance and benefits of proper water, sanitation and hygiene practices will result in sustainable attitude and behavior changes, and eventually in long-term solutions to water and health issues," said Project WET President and CEO Dennis Nelson.

Residents of Rio de Janeiro—Brazil's second largest city and one of the world's most populous metropolitan areas—face health issues due to water contamination, floods and waterborne diseases. Children are especially vulnerable. The integrated program will therefore target children and teachers to focus on schools as agents of community change and innovation. Hands-on lessons in the classroom lead to attitude and behavior changes that ultimately impact the health of children and the larger community.

The new program in Rio de Janeiro is based on similar Project WET work in Africa, Latin America

and India but will be locally driven to account for language and cultural diversity. Project WET is committed to ensuring that all children can be active learners and to producing materials that reflect local educational systems as well as culture, water and sanitation situations.

About Project WET: Since 1984, the Project WET Foundation, an award-winning U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has dedicated itself to the mission of reaching children, parents, teachers and community members of the world with water education. Project WET is active in all 50 U.S. states and in more than 50 countries worldwide.

About Abbott and the Abbott Fund: Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices, and diagnostics. The company employs approximately 91,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries. The Abbott Fund is a philanthropic foundation established by Abbott in 1951. The Abbott Fund's mission is to create healthier global communities by investing in creative ideas that promote science, expand access to health care, and strengthen communities worldwide. For more information on Abbott or the Abbott Fund, visit or

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