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Handwashing with Ananse


Handwashing with Ananse

Resource Page


>> Click here to download the complete package including facilitation materials (PDF, 5 MB).

>> Click her to download summary evaluation report on the effectiveness of 'Handwashing with Ananse' to generate learning and behaviour change.

Resources for Facilitators:

    · Handwashing with Ananse Game & Resource Pack 

    · Facebook Group for Facilitators and Resources


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What is Handwashing with Ananse?

Handwashing with Ananse is an educational game to teach children whyhow and when to wash their hands with water and soap. It has been developed by UNICEF Ghana in collaboration with Ghana Education Service, Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, Engagement Lab at Emerson College, Right to Play and Ghana Red Cross.


Handwashing with Ananse is a three-chapter story and game experience centred on the popular Ghanaian folklore character Ananse. He often takes the form of a spider who likes to trick other people. In this game, Ananse has stolen all the knowledge about handwashing and hid it in his pockets. The children have to play through three scenarios where they trick Ananse to win the handwashing knowledge back from him. The three chapters in the facilitation guide are illustrated with Ghanaian artwork and focus on distinct pieces of knowledge: why it is important to wash hands with water and soap; how to do it correctly; and when to do it.


Is this an online or offline game? What materials do I need?

The game is entirely ‘offline’. It is playable with locally available materials (e.g. stones, sticks, bottle caps) in any part of the world.


What age group is the game suitable for?

Handwashing with Ananse is designed for children age 8-12 years old but works well with children from 6 years until 15 years. That said, the stories and games have been played with many groups of adults who had a lot of fun and learned a lot.


How many players do I need?

The games are designed to be played with groups of children, typically 15-30 children, for example a class in a school. However, the games also work well with smaller and larger groups. At least onefacilitator is required to lead the game. He/she can one of the older children or an adult, for example a volunteer or a class teacher.

How do the games work?

Handwashing with Ananse comprises three chapters, each containing a story and a game. The facilitator first tells the short story, using the text and images contained in the facilitation guide, and then leads the children into the respective game. The games are action-oriented handwashing, tagging and acting games.


How long does it take to play?

Depending on the number of players, each of the three chapters of the game takes between 30-50 minutes for the storytelling and gameplay together. Ideally, the three chapters are played consecutively over the course of three weeks. This means a chapter is played every week. This gives the children/players time to practice what they learned from a week’s gameplay, and also to tell their families and peers about it.


Does ‘Handwashing with Ananse’ include peer-to-peer education?

Yes. Handwashing with Ananse includes so-called engagement activities that encourage children to teach others, their peers, family and community members, about what they learned during the games. Specific weekly assignments and debrief activities help children remember their key role in sharing information about the importance of handwashing, even outside the school environment. The engagement activities make it fun and memorable.


Why use games to teach handwashing?

Evidence on information campaigns to promote handwashing in other countries has shown that these interventions often lead to higher awareness in the short term but show limited longer term impact in terms of actual behaviour change. A growing body of research suggests that experiential learning through play can be effective in transferring knowledge and inducing behaviour change.  

Does ‘Handwashing with Ananse’ generate learning and behavior change?

Handwashing with Ananse has shown to be an effective intervention in several important ways: changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behavior led to a significant decrease in self-reported illness of 8.2% more than the comparison group at posttest 2. The study demonstrates a significant increase in knowledge of how to HWWS; peer-to-peer learning; and HWWS practice.

An evaluation was commissioned to identify whether Handwashing with Ananse is effective in generating learning and behavior change. The study included 20 schools from two districts in Central region of Ghana and one district in Eastern region of Ghana. The curriculum was facilitated in 10 intervention schools between 9 and 30 March 2017, and 10 additional schools, which did not receive the curriculum, were used as a comparison group.  Outcomes were evaluated at baseline, two weeks post-intervention (posttest 1), and 15 weeks postintervention (posttest 2).

Measurements included surveys delivered orally to children, structured observations of Tippy Taps, structured observations of the curriculum being implemented, focus group discussions immediately following intervention in the treatment group, and sensors and cameras mounted to Tippy Taps to count handwashing events.  Click here to download summary evaluation report.



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