Lifebuoy shows how superheroes can save lives

Lifebuoy showed how superheroes really can save lives at Comic Con – the world’s biggest comic convention – after sharing the stories of the characters in its world record-holding School of 5 comic book.

Superheroes are saving lives

Lifebuoy superheroes cartoon

Lifebuoy’s comic book recounts the adventures of five superhero characters, created to capture the imagination of children in order to teach them – and their families – about the importance of handwashing with soap.

By the end of 2014, the School of 5 comic book will have a circulation of 20 million, translated into 19 languages in 23 countries across Asia and Africa, reaching more than 120 million people. This gives the School of 5 the world record for printed copies of a comic book – beating Superman’s record by two and a half times.

Force for good

School of 5 cartoonist Craig Yoe appeared on the Lifebuoy Comic Panel at Comic Con, which sees over 100,000 comic book, sci-fi and fantasy fans gather each year, to explain more about his work.

Yoe, who previously worked as a creative director for the Muppets, Disney and Nickelodeon, says: “Imagine using superheroes and comics to actually save the lives of kids around the world. The School of 5 programme shows the power that comics have and how they can be used as an incredible force for good.”

Every 15 seconds, one child dies from diarrhoea or pneumonia, diseases that are preventable through the simple act of handwashing with soap. Comic books are uniquely suited to spread this message in a sustainable and powerful way, Yoe says.

Lifebuoy’s Global Social Mission Director, Dr Myriam Sidibe, who led the development of the programme with Yoe, said: “The School of 5 is intended to build handwashing habits in a way that makes the routine of handwashing with soap engaging and fun. Imagine a rural kid that has never received a comic book; they cherish it and read it to the entire family and younger siblings. It is a big step away from standard health education which has horrible posters, scary doctors and talks about nasty diseases.”

Lifebuoy’s school of 5 programme

Lifebuoy’s School of 5 behaviour change programme consists of superhero comic books, animation, radio shows, music and games, as well as walk-around characters that visit schools in person to spread the importance of washing hands at five key points in the day, including after using the toilet and before eating.

All the activities make handwashing cool, fun and interesting for children with the rallying cry, “Don’t be a dope, always use soap!”

Lifebuoy Behaviour Change programmes – including the School of 5 – reached 183 million people across 16 countries between 2010 and 2013.

For more information on the School of 5 programme, check out the School of 5 video.

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