Galvanizing Schools to Take Action in Benin

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Over the past few months, WASHplus through implementing partner ABMS/PSI has stepped up advocacy for latrine improvement in several public schools in Benin.  One school, with a student population of 1,500, has four latrine blocks that are unusable because they are full.  Even though WASHplus/ABMS and school officials successfully lobbied the Ministry of Education for a USD $200 line item for pit emptying, the urgency of the situation prompted the PTA to front the money and hire a pit empying service soon thereafter. The head of the PTA explained that joint meetings called by WASHplus/ABMS field staff to bring the group of teachers, the school director, and PTA members to the actual site of the latrine blocks and expose them to the extreme contamination “Woke us up.” WASHplus is supporting development of a sustainable usage and maintenance plan along with installation of handwashing facilities and possible additional latrine construction. Read the full story here.

 

 

 

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Celebrate Global Handwashing Day: Raise a Hand for Hygiene!

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October 15 marks the annual celebration of Global Handwashing Day. Over 200 million people will be promoting one simple behavior that can save lives all over the world—handwashing with soap. Every year, 1.7 million children are killed by diarrhea and pneumonia—two diseases that can be significantly prevented through good hygiene practices. Even with the knowledge that handwashing with soap can improve health and save lives, it isn’t practiced nearly enough, and resources geared toward its promotion, necessary supplies, or facilities are inadequate.

The WASHplus project, funded by USAID, is working diligently to address the lack of infrastructure that prevents access to handwashing with soap, and promoting simple messaging around washing hands with soap at critical times. This can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under 5 by 47 percent and respiratory infections by approximately 25 percent.

Hygiene is also critical to educational achievement, ensuring that students don’t miss school due to illness; economics, through increased worker attendance and productivity; and equity, which girls gain when they are able to safely manage menstruation at school. Given the broad impact of hygiene, it is essential that handwashing facilities and behavior change programs be prioritized.

Join us in raising a hand for hygiene on Global Handwashing Day and every day! Enjoy the joyful images of handwashing activities from our project activities, where we work to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

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These school children in Zambia’s Eastern Province know the importance of having clean hands and can now practice good hygiene behavior thanks to the SPLASH (Schools Promoting Learning Achievement through Sanitation and Hygiene) project’s installation of handwashing stations at their school.
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Plastic water bottles are easy to find and turn into simple tippy taps for handwashing. Strung together on a pole, they make a group handwashing station at a school in Madagascar.
Through SPLASH, WASH-Friendly Schools in Zambia teach students about the importance of hand washing and provide hand washing stations nearby latrines.
Thanks to WASHplus’s SPLASH project in Zambia, students at Kakumbi Primary take their lessons on handwashing seriously and pass these improved behaviors along to their households and communities.
Mother and child in Bangladesh wash hands before mealtime
In Bangladesh, WASHplus works to integrate important WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) behaviors into nutrition activities. Washing hands before cooking, eating, or feeding a baby is emphasized to mother’s groups.
Schoolboy washing his hands
This school boy is lucky to attend a WASH-Friendly school that ensures its students have enough latrines for boys and girls with available handwashing stations, a clean schoolyard, and lessons that incorporate important sanitation and hygiene messages.
Children at EPP Ambanitsena washing their hands with soap and water before going home for lunch.
Children in Madagascar wash their hands with soap and water before going home for lunch.
Woman washing hands at a tippy tap in Benin
WASHplus trains community health workers in Benin to make household tippy taps for handwashing using readily available materials. These workers pass on the knowledge through household visits and community events.
A little girl learns to wash her hands before eating
As part of its nutrition screening and referral activity in Mali, WASHplus shows how to wash hands properly with soap before children eat at nutrition centers and before meals are prepared during community cooking demonstrations.
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New water points and soap encourage handwashing at schools in Zambia and also have a profound impact on surrounding communities that are encouraged to use them after attending sensitization training on how to protect the infrastructure and contribute to its maintenance.

Lessons From Zaragoza: Indicators, Integration, And Human Rights For Hygiene Post-2015

Woodburn_Hanna_2014This post, authored by Hanna Woodburn, has been reblogged from the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) website.

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We are only a few weeks into 2015, but the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing and other actors within the international development community have been anticipating this landmark year for quite some time. Later this year, the Member States of the United Nations will agree upon a new set of global, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals. To learn, collaborate, and strategize, the UN-Water organization convened key water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector actors in Zaragoza, Spain. The gathered experts, including the PPPHW, attended and participated in discussions around what tools and challenges face implementation of the proposed SDG for water (to view this goal, please see Goal 6 on page 12 of this document).

At this conference we learned about the role of various stakeholder groups, such as business, governments, civil society, and academia, in addressing the challenges of implementing a water SDG. We advocated for hygiene where it was absent, and came away with a new appreciation for the role that integration will play in driving forward progress on WASH in the post-2015 era.

As we look toward the remaining months of 2015 and what needs to be accomplished in terms of advocating for a comprehensive WASH goal, complete with targets and indicators for hygiene, it is clear that there are specific areas where the PPPHW and hygiene supporters can be engaged.

First, indicators will be the way forward in advocacy and ensuring that all components of WASH receive their due recognition within the SDGs. Indicators will need to be measurable, actionable, and ambitious. Without an indicator for hygiene we will not know the progress made on this crucial public health intervention.

Second, at the planning, stakeholder, and programmatic levels, integration will become increasingly important to address the myriad and interrelated challenges facing global health and development. WASH does not exist in a silo. The benefits from good hygiene services and behaviors, for example, range from improving health and nutrition to reducing inequities and improving school attendance. As such, broad collaboration will help ensure that the benefits from WASH are fully realized.

Finally, but not least, the human rights approach toward water and sanitation (articulated here), will continue to be used to frame the importance of access to these life-saving services. The key elements of such an approach are equality and nondiscrimination; participation and inclusion; and accountability and the rule of law. Hygiene is, and should be, covered under the umbrella of the human rights approach, but we need to make this association clearer.

We know that WASH is going to be essential to making progress on the SDGs, that there are tools that can help achieve the proposed water goal, but we also know that there is much work to be done in the meantime, particularly around ensuring that hygiene does not fall off the agenda. The PPPHW is committed to continued advocacy around these efforts, and we hope you will join us. Sign up for our email list, learn more about the conference here, and learn what goals, targets, and indicators the WASH sector are supporting here. The challenges are large, but not insurmountable. Overcoming them will both save lives, and ensure a healthier, more productive world Post-2015. Together we can help make this vision become a reality.

About the Global Public Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing: The Global Public-Private Partnership is a coalition of international stakeholders that aims to give families, schools, and communities in developing countries the power to prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections by supporting the universal promotion and practice of proper handwashing with soap at critical times.