Dr Myriam Sidibe is one of the world’s leading experts of brands that drive health outcomes through behavioural change. From within Unilever, she has created a movement to change the handwashing behaviours of one billion people, the single biggest hygiene behavior change programme in the world, and conceived and established the UN recognized Global Handwashing Day – now celebrated in over 100 countries.
Myriam’s approach to pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo has been pivotal to leading a paradigm shift in the way public private partnerships for health are managed and funded. Her foresight in establishing Lifebuoy soaps co-branded school and neonatal handwashing have proven so effective they have received over €20 million in blended financing grants. The handwashing programs have now reached 426 million people in over 30 countries. They have also been replicated across Unilever as best practice examples for other brands looking to positively impact the world while driving market share.
As one of the world’s leading academic in the field of marketing for public health and behaviour change, Myriam represents Unilever with organizations such as Columbia University – Millennium Villages, the World Bank, PSI, WSUP, MCHIP and USAID to promote the importance of handwashing with soap, and create programmes that can help form healthy handwashing habits for life and over the past 3 years that drive scaling up nutrition programs in Africa.
For the last 18 years, she has worked in more than 20 countries for the public sector (including the International Rescue Committee, Consulting with Unicef, the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Programme) and the private sector arguing for a more transparent relationship between the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors, advocating the need for businesses to gain growth and profits from engagement in social and health issues in order to build more sustainable, effective interventions, and is a regular commentator in the media on this. In addition, she is an honorary Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a trustee of WaterAid and a Lancet Commissioner.