Dancing our way to Good Hygiene
One Drop & Step at a Time: Dance Culture’s Influence on Handwashing & Hygiene
- Author: Bulelani Booi, Dance for WASH Project Manager
Dance possesses a unique power to bring people together through the universal language of movement. This article delves into how the Dance for WASH project harnessed the energy and unity of dance culture to amplify the significance of handwashing and hygiene. Our journey across seven African countries stands as a testament to the transformative potential of dance in promoting a healthier world.
Dance culture transcends barriers, making it a powerful medium to convey crucial messages. The Dance for WASH project aimed at uniting young people across Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda. With a strong social media component, our campaign became a symphony of dance, music, and the art of messaging.
‘Shake it, Break it, Wash it, Make it’
Viva con Agua South Africa was responsible for implementing this impactful project in South Africa. Dance for WASH launched on 1 October 2022 and we ventured into primary and high schools, art centers, and community spaces, conveying messaging of good hygiene practices with the simple, yet all-encompassing message of Shake it – all the Bad hygiene habits, Break It – the spread of infection, Wash it – with soap and water, rub and scrub and your hands will be clean and Make it – so the world can be better.
Activations and Beyond
Dance for WASH was implemented in a total of 9 schools situated in some of Cape Town’s most underserved communities. Our collaboration with the local mobile Wi-Fi company, TOO MUCH WIFI, helped bridge data access barriers. Schools welcomed us with enthusiasm, recognizing the importance of handwashing and embracing the art of dance as a medium to reinforce these practices.
The participating schools were invited to compete in a dance-off; with prize being a school toilet makeover! On June 16, 2023, the dance teams took center stage at 6 Spin Street. The event was nothing short of spectacular featuring a stage, vibrant lighting, a DJ, a panel of judges, and an engaging presenter. Over 130 kids from Khayelitsha, Philippi, and neighboring areas graced the event, transported with care by our dedicated team. Ten groups competed for the coveted prize. Masiyile Senior Secondary School won the toilet makeover. This makeover included new taps and washing stations.
Masiyile High School was also gracious enough to share their triumph with the Khayelitsha Special School and allowed VcA to install suitable taps to cater to the paraplegic students. Masiyile High also received a handwashing mural created by the talented South African graffiti artist, NardStar, which serves as a daily reminder to the students to continue good hygiene practices.
SAY W.A.S.H Music with a Message
To amplify our campaign, and reach a broader audience and especially target younger individuals, we ventured into the world of film and music production. We produced a handwashing song titled “Say W.A.S.H.” A professional production team captured the essence of our mission in a music video. The video featured kids and winners of the ‘Dance for Wash’ school competition, and it was shot at Langa, Cape Town’s first township, in a venue called Ikhaya Lelanga.
And the Beat Goes On…
The song and music video were released on Global Handwashing Day (15 October 2023). The release of this song also coincides with a new partnership between GIZ and VcA SA. This partnership is based around the Fit 4 School approach which will be implemented in the same schools that were part of the Dance for WASH campaign.
VcA prides itself in fostering partnerships and collaboration to bring about systemic changes. In a complex and volatile world, we all must come together to solve problems that lead to healthy and thriving communities and environment. Dance for WASH is an expression of VcA’s joyful approach to tackling issues/problems by activating, inspiring and connecting people through art, music and sport and bringing about a positive transformation.
Let’s dance for a better world! Together with your continued support, we can create a lasting and positive impact on the lives of millions. Join our cause, and let’s promote WASH for a healthier world.
Water for all – All for water!