WaterStar: Beautiful Minds Ethiopia

WaterstarThis is the latest in a series of posts highlighting people and organizations around the world that embody the ideals of the Clean and Conserve Education Program: making the world a safer and healthier place through water conservation and hygiene education. WaterStars will receive printed copies of each book as well as enamel WaterStar pins to recognize their work. Any individual or organization that has used Clean and Conserve materials is eligible for consideration to be a WaterStar award winner. Submit your story to learn more.

Beautiful Minds Ethiopia logoA small social enterprise in Ethiopia is using the Clean and Conserve Education Program to combine education and action, with the goal of improving kids’ health. Beautiful Minds Ethiopia focuses on encouraging healthy behaviors, particularly around environmental and hygiene issues, with children in public schools and day care centers in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. At the same time, the emerging social enterprise is working to recycle leftover soaps from hotels and provide that recycled soap to schools and families, making proper hand washing easier and more affordable.

Biniyam Solomon of Beautiful Minds Ethiopia told us about the organization’s activities and how Clean and Conserve has helped them in their work.

“We provide behavioral change trainings to school administrators as well as the children themselves. We also recycle leftover soap from hotel and spas and provide it to school children for hand washing. There are various organizations working to change hygiene behaviors, but purchasing soap remains a hardship for poor families. We are trying to fill this gap between organizations and individuals that are working to improve hygiene behavior and the families who cannot afford soap,” Biniyam said. “We are using Clean and Conserve in our hygiene and hand washing campaigns. We appreciate that the graphics are so international and can fit many cultures and colors.”

Biniyam noted that Clean and Conserve has helped them recruit student and community leaders to assist in school’s hygiene improvement programs.

“We are working in five schools where each school has more than 2,000 kids,” Biniyam said. “It's the worst hygiene scenario that you can imagine. We have been able to use Clean and Conserve as part of our ‘hygiene champions’ training to recruit more hygiene ambassadors at the school and community level.”

In addition to teaching kids about proper hand washing and enabling that behavior with soap, Beautiful Minds Ethiopia is also using Clean and Conserve to teach children why hand washing is important. “Clean and Conserve helps kids understand what can happen when they eat with unclean hands,” Biniyam said.

The Clean and Conserve Education Program, developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are also available in Chinese, Spanish for Mexico, German, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page). German-language materials will be available soon.

Other WaterStars:

Joseph Dabuo of Ghana (June 23, 2016)

Ashley Satterfield of the USA (July 20, 2016)

Supriya Khound of India (October 25, 2016)

Jamice Obianyo of the USA (January 19, 2017)

EECO Foundation of Pakistan (February 1, 2017)


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