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Have we used art / painting to get hygiene messages across?

Qasir Rafiq (Global Youth Ambassador at A World at School, Pakistan - on Twitter has asked the following...

"I am designing a project WASH in Schools having a theme "Art for Behavior Change" should create a social change.

In this project initially 1000 schools will be painted with 5 hygiene key messages with the help of youth. This way we can decrease the death toll in Asia especially. initially I would love to execute this project in Kashmir as well as in Pakistan.

I want to know how I would involve WaterAid UK in the implementation phase and if we will make partnership for other Nations? In this project main stakeholders will be Universities and college because youth from fine arts departments will join us. Pictorial items should create a big impact in children lives as well as it will change their bad practices and behavior easily."

His email address is

Has WA or any partners or other orgs attempted "art for behavior change"? Do we have any insight we could share? Would we be willing to discuss his plans or offer support?

I will also share this with the UK Comms Team (Emily Graham) to see if they have any thoughts on this approach.

Thanks, Joe

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Hi Joe, and Qasir.

WSUP Bangladesh and WaterAid Bangladesh have just been doing this in Dhaka. See link below for some examples of the artwork and a brief explanation:

If this is useful, I'm sure someone from the Bagladesh team would be happy to give more detail.

Best wishes, Gemma

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There are various teaching resources available for schools via our website:

These include artistic interpretations of hygiene messages. I'm aware of similar in-country resources of the type that Gemma is referring to. I suggest Qasir follows up the work in Bangladesh and perhaps @Arjen Naafs can add some additional information to this response.

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I have heard of quite a few art competitions run by our partners as part of hygiene promotion activities at schools and this sometime results in the best selected artworks being reproduced in large scale on a wall of the toilet building or on the side of a classroom. This is a great way to engage the youth in a fun and yet thoughtful activity while at the same time dealing with a critical issue.

One very powerful youth led activity around hygiene that I have seen is through the engagement of the Scout movements in Madagascar where, if I am not mistaken, the Scout groups go out to villages and on great campaigns and with popular songs, promoting good hygiene practices. As part of that I have seen them working with communities to beautify (paint and plant flowers) around their water points as a way to add a sense of value. No reason why this could not be considered artistic as well.

As far as collaboration with WaterAid goes, I suggest we pass this contact on to the WA Pakistan team.

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In addition to all the previous answers and resources, media used to convey WASH messages have covered virtually all areas: from posters to songs , music videos, street performances, radio programs, paintings, street murals...

There are plenty of resources online (SuSanA and WEDC have interesting resources), and I believe many more that do not make it to the web.

Here is my personal top three of sanitation messages:

My preferred initiative is probably Poo to the Loo, by UNICEF India WASH Team: catchy theme song, powerful (though little gross) animations

Second comes the Super Truck Trump: the sludge truck card game by Skat and EAWAG

Last, but not least, a Sanitation Rap from Liberia, from Youtube

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