WSSCC and partners mark Global Handwashing Day 2016

Date: 20th October 2016

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The theme of the annual advocacy event was to make handwashing a habit

WSSCC and its partners marked Global Handwashing Day on October 15th 2016 with activities promoting the practice of handwashing with soap in various countries including Benin, Kenya, Madagascar and Tanzania.

Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. The simple act of handwashing with soap can reduce the risk of diarrheal disease by up to 47%.

Global Handwashing day was launched on October 15, 2008 by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, a coalition of international stakeholders who work to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.

Since 2008, WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund has supported over 15 million people to access handwashing facilities.

See some of the highlights below to find out how our partners around the world raised awareness on handwashing.


In Bangladesh, the whole month of October was dedicated to celebrating sanitation with the theme of ‘Improved Latrine, Healthy Life’ alongside ‘Making Handwashing a Habit’ for Global Handwashing Day.

The Sanitation Month was inaugurated on October 2nd by the Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Khandakar Mosharaf Hossain with the attendance of representatives from local councils and the government.

Global Handwashing celebrations were attended by officials, students, teachers, NGOs and donors who all practiced hand washing with soap.

The month-long campaign of awareness and celebrations was held all over the country.

A rally was organized by the District Administration of Shariatpur and a demonstration of proper handwashing was held at Gaibandha (Rangpur) by the Women Development Program.


In Benin, communities demonstrated the habit of handwashing to mark the day.

Credit: WSSCC

Credit: WSSCC

Credit: WSSCC


Various counties in Kenya celebrated Global Handwashing Day, with a special focus on involving children at schools to demonstrate and raise awareness on the habit of handwashing.



The national celebration took place in Nakuru County in Hyrax Hill primary school with support from Amref Health Africa and other partners in the GSF-supported Kenya Sanitation and Hygiene Programme (K-SHIP) . A group of excited pupils have also recited a poem about handwashing.

In Embu county, the county Director Dr. Kaniaru demonstrated how to properly wash hands along with Caritas EMBU director, Fr. Alex Mati

Pupils in Kisii county showing materials they were given, with hand washing facilities for demonstrations. Credit: K-SHIP

School pupils from Getonganya Primary School demonstrating proper handwashing with running water and soap in Kuria West Sub County. Credit: K-SHIP


In Madagascar, national celebrations took place in the region of Boeny, in the ODF commune of Tsaramandroso in the district of Ambato-boeny and were attended by a number of officials including the Minister of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.  Speeches were given on the importance of handwashing as well as demonstrations of the correct way to wash hands.

Credit: WSSCC/Diorano-Wash

The Minister of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene demonstrating proper handwashing along with Jean Herivelo Rakotondrainibe National Coordinator of WSSCC/Diorano-Wash. Credit: WSSCC/Diorano-Wash

Credit: WSSCC/Diorano-Wash

Regional celebrations took place in the Itasy region in the commune of Arivonimamo with a special focus on sensitizing children to promote the habit of handwashing. The community was invited to take part of the demonstrations of proper handwashing and school pupils made performances on the subject.


In Tanzania commemorations took place at the Zanka village in the Bahi District in the Dodoma region. The event was attended by officials from the district, council representatives, community members from three villages and schoolchildren.

Bahi District Commissioner Elizabeth Simon Kitundu demonstrating hand washing with Soap. Credit: Plan International

School WASH club performing songs on handwashing. Credit: Plan International

12-year old Judith giving a speech after taking over as Programme Director for the commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child. Credit: Plan International

The event was also combined with the commemoration of The International Day of the Girl Child (which took place on October 11th) focusing on adolescent girls and the Sustainable Development Goals.  As Part of the national theme of  letting “Girls Takeover”, 12-year old Judith Edmond, who dreams of becoming a pilot took over the position of director of the GSF-supported programme UMATA.

Other celebrations took part at the Mgulani primary school in Temeke which was the official host of the commemorations in the district ,advocating for behaviour change through hand washing in Tanzanian schools.

Kassim Dello a health teacher at the school praised the celebration adding that “awareness on hand washing with soap must be a normal habit rather than being important on GHWD commemoration only.”

Along with celebrating this day of handwashing awareness, the district also saw each school planting trees, part of the “MTI WANGU” ( My Tree)  campaign to improve the environment.

Group hand washing at Mgulani primary school. Credit: Photo courtesy of SAWA

Group hand washing at Mgulani primary school. Credit: Photo courtesy of SAWA

Credit: Photo courtesy of SAWA

Credit: Photo courtesy of SAWA


You can also check out these videos released by the Indian government promoting sanitation, featuring Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan.

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