We hypothesize that we can modify schoolchildren’s norms related to hand-washing, safe water and sanitation with stories, games and engaging activities. Our games include board games, card games, classroom games and running games such as “germ tag.” Our stories use familiar folk tale characters such as the trickster (“Gerry the Germ”). Our activities are very vivid (such as growing bacteria) or involve making something the students can use (such as a soapy bottle that permits low-cost handwashing at both home and school).
This curriculum works well because health involves conflict between pathogens and people, and conflict is the basis of most games and stories. The curriculum also relates to students' lives, which increases motivation.