Some Events organized by Lifebuoy as a CSR
Lifebuoy has always played a role in times of crisis, helping to prevent the spread of germs and disease:
During the Blitz of London in 1940, Lifebuoy soap provided free emergency mobile washing facilities to Londoners. Lifebuoy vans were equipped with hot showers, soap and towel
In the aftermath of the Tsunami in Asia in December 2004, Lifebuoy bars were a key element in the relief packages distributed in Southern India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases so endemic in the aftermath of such disasters
In 2005 over 200 000 bars of Lifebuoy soap were donated to UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross to support their earthquake relief operations in Northern India and Pakistan
Health & Hygiene Education
Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetana is the single largest rural health and hygiene educational programme ever undertaken in India. Its objective is to educate people about basic hygienic habits.
It has been developed around the insight that people mistakenly believe "visible clean is safe clean". The programme establishes the existence of "invisible germs" and the associated risk of infection. In India this is important, because diarrhea, caused by invisible germs, is the second largest cause of death among children below the age of 5. The project will help reduce incidence of such diseases, by raising awareness of preventive hygienic practices.
The campaign has been divided into various phases. In the initial phase, a Health Development Facilitator (HDF) and an assistant initiates contact and interacts with students and influencers of the community, like village community representatives, medical practitioners, school teachers etc. A number of tools like a pictorial story in a flip chart format, a "Glo-germ demonstration", and a quiz with attractive prizes to reinforce the message are used. The "Glo-Germ demonstration" is a unique tool to make unseen germs visible and emphasize the need to adopt hygienic practices. The first interaction with students is then replicated with the rest of the community. Subsequently, follow-up visits and communication are undertaken at periodic intervals, which reinforce the message and learnings.
Started in 2002, the programme has as of now covered about 15000 villages in 8 states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Maharashtra; it has already touched about 70 million people, imparting hygiene education to over 25 million children. The vision of this on-going project is to make a billion Indians feel safe and secure by focusing on their health and hygiene needs.
Media vehicles for this campaign
Wall paintings, cinema vans, weekly markets (haat), fairs and festivals. Given the rural consumer's fascination for cinema, the cinema vans show popular movies, interspersed with products advertisements.
Low Price Points
To help people on low incomes afford to buy soap, an 18 gram bar of lifebuoy soap was introduced - enough for one person to wash their hands once a day for 10 weeks.Impact of this initiative?
It started with 8 Indian states, and covered more than 70 million people by the end of 2004! This campaign was well received by the media as well as the government, the effects of which are evident as above.
In 2003-4 sales of Lifebuoy grew by 20%, with particularly strong sales in the eight states where the programme operates. This model is also being replicated in other countries like Bangladesh, where close to 3100 villages have already been visited
But is this simply a CSR initiative by the multinational? According to the report by Unilever, “Swasthya Chetna is not about philanthropy. It’s a marketing programme with social benefits. We recognize that the health of our business is totally interconnected with the health of the communities we serve and if we are to grow sales of our brand, we have to increase the number of people who use soap”.
As long as it has a long-term perspective to it, overcoming the behavioral aspect of Rural Consumers is a daunting task, especially in the Interiors - something that HLL has done it in a confident style so far!
The Lifebuoy Lifeline Express - A train full of hope
In India there are people who are too poor to afford the services of a doctor. They live in villages where surgery is unheard of and basic medical facilities are a luxury. For these people, we, along with the Impact India Foundation started the Lifebuoy Lifeline Express.
This Express is a "hospital-on-rails". A train that travels to the rural areas of the country carrying medical supplies and offering surgical facilities to the poorest of poor. In the year 2000 alone, around 7500 people were treated for disabilities like polio, cataract, deafness and cleft lips free of cost.