In Guinea-Bissau, a nationwide campaign is underway to promote handwashing as a way to reduce the spread of diseases. Teenagers are getting involved by writing songs and rap music about the importance of washing your hands with soap.
For any aspiring musician, hearing your song on the radio is a major milestone. This year, 19-year-olds Lizidória Mendes and Venâncio Cá got to experience this dream come true when their songs “Laba Mon” (wash your hands) and "Iagu ku sabon" (water with soap) were chosen as the winners of a Global Handwashing Day song writing contest, organized by UNICEF.
Lizidória and Venâncio developed the lyrics and rap music to support the global effort to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap to prevent illness and disease. Their songs were used in radio spots prior to Global Handwashing Day, and have since become so popular that they are now played on radio stations across Guinea-Bissau.
“Handwashing is one of the absolutely most important and simple acts anyone can do to reduce transmission of diseases, not only diarrhoea but also infectious diseases such as flu. Guinea-Bissau is a country closely connected with music and it is also a country with predominantly young people. The music competition winners really have an incredible talent not only in singing but also communicating to their peers.” Fredrik Asplund, UNICEF Guinea-Bissau Chief Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).