CANSA Promotes ‘BE SUN SMART’ School Programme KZN
August 2015: The BE SUN SMART School Programme makes sunscreen instantly accessible to school goers and instills vital sun safety habits from an early age.
BE SUN SMART, a school programme which installs serviced NIVEA SUN sunscreen dispensers at schools in KwaZulu-Natal and provides sun safety education, is gearing up for the summer season ahead. Temperatures will soon start to rise, and the UV index along with it. This means that we’re all more at risk of damage from UV rays, with children the most vulnerable to sun exposure.
“Often mothers send children to school with sunscreen, but it never leaves their school bag. We’re on a drive to get schools prepared and equipped with sunscreen before it really gets hot outside,” says Hayleigh Bott, co-founder of BE SUN SMART. (BE SUN SMART was launched in KwaZulu-Natal in 2014 by two concerned Durban mothers, Hayleigh Bott and Donna Short, in partnership with NIVEA SUN).
The objectives are threefold: Firstly, to make sunscreen instantly accessible when and where it is needed most at schools; secondly, to make sun care part of children’s every day routine; and thirdly, to educate children on sun safety.
The learning environment of school is the perfect place for children to learn about sun safety. Dr Marc Roscher of Skin Cancer Foundation of South Africa (SCFSA) highlights the need for sun protection at school level, “Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in South Africa, and skin cancer rates in this country are the second highest in the world. While the majority of skin cancers are detected in older patients, this cancer stems from sun damage earlier on in life. Research shows that reducing childhood exposure to ultraviolet radiation is an important step to minimising lifetime skin cancer risk. Children are more vulnerable to sun damage in a shorter space of time, because their skin is thinner than an adult’s and far more sensitive.”
Dr Caradee Wright, who has published many research studies on sun safety in South Africa, stresses the important role that schools and educators play, “Evidence shows that school interventions at primary school level can reduce sunburn incidence and new melanocytic mole development. The school environment can support healthy child sun exposure and reduce risk of skin cancer later in life.”
Donna Short of BE SUN SMART says, “We want to work with schools and parents alike to help make sunscreen use as necessary and routine as brushing your teeth. The BE SUN SMART Programme aims to make the process of introducing and implementing sunscreen use to pupils, far easier for schools.”
With 44 schools signed up, and roughly 6775 pupils getting UV protection at school through this programme, BE SUN SMART is gaining momentum in KwaZulu-Natal.
Cara Noble, CANSA Divisional Services Manager KZN says, “Educating our youth on the dangers of the sun is a high priority for CANSA, which is why we support the BE SUN SMART educational programme. It takes a fun and light hearted approach to drive a serious message home – you can prevent skin cancer, by looking after your skin and being aware of the sun.”
The educational programme includes a school roadshow during August and September for participating pre-primary and primary schools. The vibrant stage show with lovable characters teaches children about sun safety through theatre, song and dance.
A hard-hitting, yet light hearted educational talk by CANSA is conducted at high schools to drive home the importance of sun smart habits to teens.
“NIVEA SUN being a family brand, has a responsibility to inform and educate the public about sun safety. The BE SUN SMART Programme forms part of this drive, helping to grow a generation of sun smart people. We have developed a lovable character for children, Ray the Penguin, who is the star of the schools roadshows and who is serious about sun protection.
An entertaining two minute animated sun smart video clip has also been developed and has gone viral,” says Mbali Sithole, NIVEA SUN Brand Manager.
NIVEA SUN is South Africa’s* number 1 sun care brand and is also the world’s number 1 sun care brand. **
*Source: Euromonitor International Limited.; NIVEA by umbrella brand name in the category Sun Care, incl. Sun Protection, Aftersun ans Self-Tanning; in retail value terms, 2013.
** Source: Nielsen. Trade Desk. Suntan preps Report 12MM July 2015