In 2005, through the initiative of Lady Owen-Jones, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for HIV/AIDS Prevention Education, UNESCO and L’Oréal created Hairdressers Against AIDS, aimed at raising awareness of HIV by sensitizing hairdressers about HIV and encouraging them to talk about personal risk with their customers.
Beauty transcends national borders, and a trip to the hairdresser is a ritual in almost every country in the world. Knowing that hair salons are excellent locations for information sharing and exchange, UNESCO saw a golden opportunity in partnering with L’Oréal–an opportunity to ensure that the company’s network of 190 training centres and 1.2 million professionals are reached with reliable information on HIV and AIDS. Hairdressers in L’Oreal’s 400 000 partner salons around the world take courses at the training centres in more than 50 countries.
The UNESCO training module–integrated into L’Oréal’s professional training system–provides simple, factual and accurate information on HIV. Hairdressers who graduate from the training programme UNESCO designed with L’Oréal relay their knowledge to clients in salons in every corner of the world. In each country, implementation is adapted and enhanced according to local needs and interest.
The UNESCO/L’Oréal training course is estimated to have reached 50 000 hairdressers by the end of 2006 and was awarded the Global Business Coalition’s 2006 Award for Business Excellence. The programme has been embraced with enthusiasm by L’Oréal staff, hairdressers, and the public. It will be extended to all countries where L’Oréal is present in the near future.