Improve hand hygiene in Burkina Faso schools


In Burkina Faso, only 48% of schools have access to drinking water, and 39% have sanitation facilities: toilets (latrines), washbasins…

However, 90% of infections are believed to be transmitted through the hands.

And a sick child is a child who doesn’t go to school. Encouraging children to wash their hands is therefore a major health issue!

Our project

Inspired by “nudge” techniques, the “Elephant Memory” project seeks to transform a daily chore into a fun routine and to establish the habit of hand washing among young schoolchildren.

The “nudge” is an influencing technique, an indirect suggestion to change a behaviour without the person noticing.


Elephant memory is based on a colorful device to entertain children:

  • A water tank in the shape of an elephant, a famous animal in Burkina Faso associated with wisdom and benevolence. And mirrors as ears.
  • A path traced in the shape of elephant’s legs to connect the toilets (latrines) to the kitchen via the washing point.
  • And above all, the children were involved in its realization (drawings, colours, paintings…).

The test of the device consists in observing and comparing the behaviours of 3 groups of children during 3 months:

  • a group of children who only have a conventional water point
  • a group of children who benefit from the Elephants scheme
  • a group of children who also benefit from awareness-raising sessions on the importance of washing their hands, both at school and at home.


Before and after meals:

  • Without the classic push, 68% of schoolchildren wash their hands.
  • With the Elephant device, 80% of schoolchildren wash their hands.
  • With the help of the Elephant device and awareness raising, 90% of school children wash their hands.

After using the toilets/latrines:

  • Without the help of a conventional device, 59% of schoolchildren wash their hands.
    87% of schoolchildren wash their hands with the Elephant device.
  • With the help of the Elephant device and awareness raising, 87% of schoolchildren wash their hands.

Our beneficiaries

  • 10 schools of Gourma province have been equipped
  • 3805 children, 130 educational staff and 7610 parents concerned

The beginning of a long story


From the Burkinabe elephant to the Nepalese yak:

This project is currently being adapted and tested in Nepal.

The elephant has thus become a yak, to the delight of Nepalese schoolchildren.

Gourma province, Eastern Burkina Faso
February 2019 – January 2020 (test phase)

Logo d'une poignée de mains représentant la collaboration de Planète Enfants & Développement avec des partenaires locaux

Our partners

  • Local partner:

Burkinabé Ministry of National Education, Literacy and Promotion of National Languages

  • Financial partner: