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A Little Bribery To Increase Hygiene–Toys Hiding In Soap

Kids get a lot more interested in hand washing–an important factor for avoiding disease– where there’s a toy car involved.

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If you want to get kids to do something in their interest, a little bribery works well. In fact, it’s often essential. Where would parents be without the odd well-placed incentive?

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In Blikkiesdorp, a settlement outside of Cape Town, South Africa, the prize for kids is buried in a lump of soap. To get at the little toy–a car or Hello Kitty faces–they have to start using the bar, and wear it away. Washing leads to playing.

Called Hope Soap, the idea comes from the Y&R South Africa creative agency and several non-profits. They point out that personal cleanliness is essential to reducing the rate of diseases like diarrhea, typhoid, and cholera, and that the greatest challenge is getting the kids to use soap regularly, not just when they feel like it.

You can see more about the campaign in the video. The creators claim that hygiene levels have improved by 70% among kids this year.

About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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