Galvanizing Schools to Take Action in Benin

benin school kids

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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9 AM EST, Feb 16 Webinar: WASHing Away Diseases, Two Hands at a Time

WASH NTDs webinar

On February 18 at 9:00 AM EST, please join the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing and the USAID/WASHplus project for a webinar discussing why water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) matter to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and addressing the need for new approaches for multi-sector initiatives to promote equity, poverty alleviation, health, and well-being.

Register here today!

Featuring experts from WaterAid, Sightsavers, the FHI 360-led USAID/WASHplus project, and USAID, this webinar is an excellent opportunity for those working in both WASH and NTDs to learn about the global landscape of WASH/NTD strategy and glean practical insights from projects that are operating in this context.

This webinar will include brief presentations on:

  • The link between WASH and NTDs
  • How we can work together to achieve common goals through the World Health Organization’s Joint WASH-NTD strategy; and
  • Integration in practice.

About the panelists:

  • Renuka Bery, MPH, Senior Program Manager for the USAID/WASHplus project, has an extensive background in WASH integration.
  • Sophie Boisson, PhD, Technical Officer for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health at the World Health Organization (invited).
  • Edouard Tianhoun, RN, MSc, WASH-NTD Coordinator for the USAID/WASHplus Burkina Faso pilot project, has been in involved in WASH programs in his native Burkina Faso since 2011.
  • Yael Velleman, MSc, Senior Policy Analyst on Health and Sanitation, leads WaterAid’s strategy, advocacy, and research agenda on health.
  • Merri Weinger, MPH, Senior Environmental Health Advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, has over 30 years of experience in health programs at USAID, WHO, and PAHO.
  • Geordie Woods, MPH, Technical Adviser-NTDs at Sightsavers, specializes in health behavior and strategic communication with a technical focus that includes NTDs and WASH.

Following the presentations there will be a Question & Answer session.

Register now!

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.

Global Handwashing Day is for all of us!

Oct 15 is Global Handwashing Day

By Ron Clemmer, Strategy and Business Development Manager, WASH, FHI 360.

photoAbout the author: Ron Clemmer joined FHI360 in May after working with World Vision as Senior Technical Advisor for WASH for six years. Ron is passionate about building sustainable water and sanitation services through the public and private sectors, hygiene behavior change that becomes habit, and integrated programming of WASH with nutrition, HIV, neglected tropical diseases, education, and women’s empowerment.

Last month at a PTA meeting at our local elementary school the teacher who leads the PTA Health & Wellness Committee announced the upcoming date for Global Handwashing Day.  Several of the parents scrunched up their noses and looked at each other with befuddlement, as if to say “What?! Is there such a thing.  Why is she talking about it?”  So the teacher explained this day focuses on handwashing around the world and how it is important for everyone’s wellness, even in our school.  But for my neighbors, handwashing was either taken for granted or its importance was a mystery or it was just silly.  For my neighbors, handwashing was not valued.

This got me thinking about handwashing.  I already think about handwashing a lot! I think about how to best facilitate the motivation of behavior change so people wash their hands properly even though they live in poor conditions.  I also think about handwashing a lot in my own personal life.  I think about handwashing when my daughter appears at the kitchen table ready to eat much too quickly after she went to wash her hands, and then my wife tells her to try it again using soap and some scrubbing this time.  I think about handwashing when I am eating at a restaurant and I am trying to figure out how to navigate through multiple doors that stand as barriers between me and my hands which I just washed and the target of getting back to the table with my hands still being clean.  And sometimes I think about how I wish I had never gotten into a public health profession because all of this concern about handwashing is just a huge bother!  It is so inconvenient to make sure that our hands are clean!  Much less thinking about everyone else’s hands around us!  Did that waiter just touch the top of my glass with his hands; I’d better ask for a straw!  Or better yet, I had better never eat out again!  Can’t I just forget about hand sanitation for a while!  Handwashing is an endless bother!

Last year, I was at a food security meeting in a session that was talking about the importance of handwashing as part of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions to prevent malnutrition increase from disease burden.  One of the international development professionals said she found it too difficult to wash her hands at every one of the critical times now that she had a baby, as it just took too much time.  But she said people in a village really have to do it because the risk is so much greater.

So handwashing take too much time.  It is such a bother.  And my neighbors do not really value it.  But surely when I am with my WASH colleagues, I find the encouragement and reinforcement to stick with handwashing.  Well…  Actually…  Maybe not always.  One of my WASH colleagues has told me for years of how he has repeatedly sat through a morning of discussion of the critical nature of handwashing with WASH professionals, and then when it is time for lunch, he watches closely and sees hardly anyone going to wash their hands before eating.  Do we think that if we live in the city or that if we are a professional working at a table then we do not need to wash our hands?  Will anyone listen to us talking about the importance of handwashing if we do not practice the behavior we are promoting?  Handwashing must be for someone else besides WASH professionals.

Here are the lessons that I take away from these personal experiences that helps me to think about my professional task of helping people to adopt better handwashing.  For everyone, handwashing is a bother.  For everyone, handwashing is inconvenient.  For everyone, handwashing takes too much time.  For everyone, some people in our communities will really think that handwashing is just plain silly.  And for everyone, hardly anything we can do will protect our health and our children’s health as much as handwashing.

The inconvenience of handwashing is one of the issues which makes the small doable actions approaches of behavior change programming so compelling.   The inconvenience of handwashing an issue which makes handwashing as being a core of being polite in your neighborhood to be such an important motivating factor.  The inconvenience of handwashing is an issue which makes the need for marketing of the aspirational appeal of handwashing to be so important.

So it is a good lesson for me to remember how difficult handwashing and the social norm of handwashing is in the communities where we work, by looking at handwashing in the communities where I live.  So Global Handwashing Day is for everyone!  And since I don’t want my daughter to be sick too much this winter, I hope that my neighbors learn that the value of handwashing for their kids!

Improving the quality of drinking water in schools: students take the initiative

By Armand AGUIDI AMOUSSOU, WASHplus Benin Coordinator, July 2015

Benin_WASH friendly schoolThe Benin peri-urban program has taken a new turn by including schools in its efforts to fosteri mproved hygiene practices. Lack of latrines, drinking water and hygiene is acutely felt by the schools. The 10 schools in the pilot neighborhoods of Enagnon and Agbato showed great enthusiasm and engagement after intensive sessions with ABMS school activities coordinator Victoire Mongbo. Together, they agreed on criteria and terms for becoming a WASH Friendly School, and are now engaged in a WASH Friendly competition. Handwashing with soap and nicely maintained school yards are becoming the norm, however, the need for classroom drinking water containers stirred up controversy as the schools have no money and teachers in the public schools are not allowed to ask parents for financial contributions. Instead, the teachers gave lessons in the importance of safe storage and treatment of drinking water. To her surprise, one enterprising 10 year old, Claudine, proclaimed that the students should contribute to the purchase of containers for their classrooms. The students organized a committee and decided on a level of 25FCFA (pennies) each. Fourteen students promptly contributed. They eventually raised 1, 025F, by using snack money and also asking parents who were more than willing to help. This experience has reinforced the idea that children can be powerful motivators of parents when they themselves are convinced of the right action. WASHplus is also working with the school directors to come up with alternative solutions to school WASH challenges.

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.

PPPHW Applauds The Passage Of The Water For The World Act

The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing lauds the passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014. Passed by unanimous consent by the United States Senate on December 15, 2014, the Water for the World Act will improve the U.S. government’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs.

Access to improved WASH undergirds many other vital areas of global health and development—including maternal and newborn health, nutrition, education, and equity for women and girls. As such, the U.S. government’s response to global WASH challenges is particularly important. The Water for the World Act modifies the 2005 Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act and will strengthen the U.S. government’s WASH programs through ensuring increased collaboration, integration, and monitoring. It will also ensure that countries and regions most in need of improved WASH are specifically targeted for program provision. Notably, the bill also specifically commits to improving hygiene alongside water and sanitation.

“The strong bi-partisan support for the Water for the World Act demonstrates what we already know—that water, sanitation, and hygiene are universal human rights issues, regardless of political persuasion,” says Hanna Woodburn, Deputy Secretariat Director for the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. “We applaud this meaningful step in the right direction. However, in a world where 1.7 children die from diarrhea annually, girls drop out of school due to an inability to manage their period with dignity, and 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet, it is clear that more must be done. We now call upon the global community to further access to WASH by prioritizing these life-saving services in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.”

See more at: http://globalhandwashing.org/news/ppphw-applauds-passage-water-world-act#sthash.c6MAuwja.dpuf