UNICEF-assisted communication campaigns on WASH win 5 Anvil awards

Two health promotion and communication programs on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supported by UNICEF took home five trophies at the 53rd Anvil Awards of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines.

“Goodbye, Dumi! Hello, Healthy!” (GDHH) received a Gold Anvil award as a communication program that has been implemented on a sustained basis under the Advocacy Campaigns category. GDHH supports the Zero Open Defecation (ZOD) Program of the Department of Health (DOH). Designed by a local non-government organization (NGO), the Center for Health Solutions and Innovations Philippines, Inc. (CHSI), in partnership with UNICEF and the Department of Health, GDHH was first implemented in the Province of Masbate in 2015, helping 20 barangays increase the number of households with sanitary toilets and eliminating the practice of open defecation. This was later scaled up in 2016, implementing the program in four other regions in the country (Region V, Region VI, Region VIII, and Region XII)

“Open defecation poses the greatest risk to children’s nutritional status. Children may suffer from diarrhea, frequent bouts of worm infections and other diseases that impact on their general health and lead to irreversible stunting,” said Julia Rees, UNICEF Deputy Representative.

In 2017, DOH launched GDHH as its health promotion campaign, kicking off a series of training activities to help DOH regional offices and local governments roll out the campaign in communities where open defecation is widely practiced. In 66demonstration barangays spread across nine provinces, the campaign has already helped increase the proportion of households with sanitary toilets from 60% to 85% in eight months. So far, half of these barangays were already certified as ZOD communities.

“Our target is to achieve ZOD in all barangays by 2022. With the help of ‘Goodbye, Dumi! Hello, Healthy!’”, we can reach this even before 2022,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.

Anvil haul

The campaign also romped off with four other Anvils at a ceremony organized by the PRSP. GDHH also won a Silver Award as a campaign for rural community development.

“We share this recognition with all the mothers, fathers and children who have made that important decision to build their own toilets after seeing or hearing about our campaign,” DOH program officer Engr. Rolando Santiago said.

A storybook about a house fly’s penchant for human feces won a Gold Anvil for communication tools. Written by premiere children’s storybook writer, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, “Ang Piyesta” is used by child development workers to introduce pre-school children to the dangers of open defecation.

A curriculum guide for child development workers was also awarded with a Gold Anvil as an effective communication tool. These two communication materials are used in the “WASH and Learn” hygiene promotion program, developed by UNICEF and CHSI, to support the WASH in Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) program of the National ECCD Council.

“WASH and Learn” won a Silver Anvil as a program aimed at specific stakeholders. “WASH and Learn” was implemented in Puerto Princesa and Northern Samar, helping children in day care centers adopt important hygiene practices like handwashing and brushing teeth. Over 500 child development workers were trained on how to use various communication tools as part of the “WASH and Learn” campaign.

The National ECCD Council will begin a series of training events on “WASH and Learn”, aiming to scale up the program in different parts of the country in May 2018.

GDHH was first recognized by the PRSP in 2017, receiving two Gold and two Silver Anvil awards. PageOne, a media agency, has been helping the GDHH campaign deliver its key messages on various media platforms and submitted it for consideration at the Anvil Awards. The Anvils is known as the Oscars of the PR industry, inspiring companies and organizations to design and deliver communication programs on social good.