Children: the most persistent and passionate advocates
I have yet to meet a child who did not want to be a grown up.
My four-year-old niece, Lily, loves sharing her expertise with her baby sister, Rosalie, on how to navigate the ways of the world. Fortunately for her mom, Lily is fastidious about cleanliness: “I don’t like germs. We don’t need to give germs to each other.” She thinks it’s fun to help Rosalie wash her hands, loves to help her mommy do the dishes, and is loud and proud about her recent potty training success.
As much as she wants to be a grown up, though, she is still only four years old. I scored major auntie points when I did a World Water Day video with muppets Chamki and Googly, and my sister (with monotone resignation) reported that they’d watch the video together hundreds of times. When I asked Lily what she liked about Chamki and Googly, she stated the obvious: “They’re toys!” Right. She was probably wondering why I didn’t come to that simple conclusion on my own.
Hygiene behavior change programs have picked up on children’s enthusiasm and their desire to help influence others, all while having fun, of course! As. Dr. Khanna states in our new video, children are also ideal targets for these lessons because they are adaptable and amenable to change.
This opportunity is especially exciting in India, where the population is quite young. With a new generation of children learning healthy habits, the tide is turning.
In advocacy, we talk a lot about engaging champions for child health. It’s important not to overlook children themselves. “I like to help! It’s fun!” Lily said when I pressed her about why she helps Rosalie wash her hands. She’s also a great motivator. “Good job, Aunt Hopey,” she encourages as she watches me brush my teeth. Like all children, she may be in a rush to grow up, but given what I’ve seen so far, I think children are the most persistent and passionate advocates!