SurfAid field officer Pak O uses singing to transfer health messages to children. Photo: Anne Wuijts/SurfAid
“My dear friends, let’s wash our hands with soap ... pour the water onto your hands ... rub the soap with your two hands ... rub it on the back of your hands and between your fingers ... rub it to the left and to the right ... and then rub your palms ...”
This is an excerpt from a handwashing song created by the SurfAid team in Kinumbuk, a hamlet in the Mentawai. Using a church song with a melody familiar to the villagers’ ears makes it easier for them to remember. Eventually, consciously or unconsciously, they will memorise the message in the song: wash your hands with soap and flowing water.
Handwashing songs have been a hit, especially with the children, every time they see Taufik and Aldy, SurfAid’s field officers in Kinumbuk. Children wave their hands and sing the songs. They sing them at home, at school, while they play with their friends. On Global Handwashing Day, SurfAid held a handwashing song contest for elementary schools, and the popularity of Taufik and Aldy’s song increased more than ever. ...read more