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.
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Good Handwashing Key to a Healthy Holiday Season

by The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 17, 2014. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned that this year’s flu season might be particularly severe, and some states are already reporting spikes in influenza. With the holidays also in full swing, the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) and the American Cleaning Institute are taking this opportunity to remind the public about a simple, affordable way to promote health this holiday season and throughout the year: handwashing with soap.

According to Dr. Layla McCay, Secretariat Director for the PPPHW, “Handwashing with soap can protect us from a wide range of illnesses by preventing the spread of germs, including the influenza virus. Washing our hands with soap helps us all fight influenza and stay healthy.”

Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President, Education at the American Cleaning Institute adds that “Families are concerned about staying healthy during the holiday season. Handwashing is especially vital during this busy time of the year with shopping and social events, many of which include food. Our message is simple: Frequent handwashing is one easy way to help prevent the spread of germs.”

To wash hands properly, wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap, either in bar or liquid form. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Do this away from running water, so the lather isn’t washed away. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

The critical times for handwashing are after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and before contact with food, but it is also advisable to wash hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. You should also wash your hands more frequently when you or someone in your home is sick and anytime your hands are visibly dirty.

As you exchange gifts this year make sure you aren’t also exchanging germs. Wash your hands with soap thoroughly and regularly.

About the Global Public Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing

The Global Public-Private Partnership 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.

About the American Cleaning Institute

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry™ and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of consumers through sustainable cleaning products and practices.

Design, Delivery, and Monitoring & Evaluation for Handwashing With Soap Programs

This course is designed by the Center for Global Safe Water at Emory University and the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) for program implementers, policy makers, teachers, and M&E specialists on the design, delivery and monitoring and evaluation of hand washing with soap (HWWS) programs. The course is geared towards those interested in promoting handwashing with soap among populations in the Global South.

This course will cover concepts including:

  • Community- and school-based HW promotion
  • Marketing and social marketing
  • Private sector approaches
  • Government, NGO and community led-approaches
  • Approaches for low- and middle-income settings

At the end of this course, participants will:

1. Understand the current state of knowledge for HWWS
2. Identify current approaches to hygiene and HWWS promotion
3. Utilize a specific behavioral framework to design a program for HWWS
4. Develop a HWWS behavior change strategy
5. Know the steps of developing a HWWS program
6. Become familiar with the basic tools to monitor and evaluate HWWWS program

The course includes two modules that will help participants learn practical guidance on how to design and implement HWWS behavior change programs that target marginalized groups in communities, schools, health centers and other institutions.

Module 1 covers:

  • The state of knowledge and evidence base for HWWS
  • The key times for to promote HWWS
  • The technologies used for HWWS
  • How HWWS is promoted by different stakeholders
  • Examples of HWWS programs, including current approaches and behavioral frameworks

Module 2 covers:

  • Developing a HWWS behavior change strategy
  • Planning a HWWS program from buy-in to concept and execution
  • Monitoring and evaluating a HWWS program to ensure program sustainability and learning

Click here to download the course curriculum, module 1, module 2and supplemental readings.