Haas Crowdfunds to Teach Good Hygiene to Underprivileged Children

On any given day, a child’s little hands touch hundreds of surfaces and other people – all laden with germs that can make him or her sick.

Teaching children in disadvantaged regions about the importance of hand washing to prevent infections is the primary goal of Hygiene Heroes, a curriculum-based healthcare program developed by Prof. David Levine at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. The program needs a “helping hand” and has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Berkeley-Haas Crowdfund, the business school’s own fundraising platform. Hygiene Heroes hopes to raise $8000 by Feb. 16. 

Through interactive styles of learning, such as stories, games, and songs, Hygiene Heroes teaches children in Asia, Africa, and South American how to practice good personal hygiene and safe water usage. Levine’s team of UC Berkeley (including Haas) undergraduate researchers seeks travel funds to send them to partner schools in Chennai, India, this summer. There, the students will train local teachers and serve as global liaisons. Funds raised will also allow the team to purchase needed classroom supplies for the children.

“The last two summers we piloted our lessons in Chennai,” says Prof. Levine. “The children enjoyed our material and, more importantly, adopted healthier habits. We have adapted the curriculum to the communities’ feedback and look forward to returning and helping more children.”

Eventually the research team plans to share its curriculum with nonprofit organizations for global distribution.

Previously, Prof. Levine, along with Brett Green and William Fuchs, both assistant professors at Berkeley-Haas, raised $16,000 to fund their research on safer cook stoves for rural communities in developing countries.

Berkeley Crowdfund launched in 2014 to “help and attract engagement and financial support for research and innovation, community activity, and entrepreneurial ventures that typically fall between the campus’ normal funding methods and models.”