‘Clean hands – a recipe for health’ was the theme of this year’s Global Handwashing Day. By all accounts, it was also a recipe for success.
With a focus on fun, members of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) engaged children in many countries around the world in creative ways to help spread the word. From Nigeria to Sierra Leone, children created art works, sang songs and participated in all manner of activities to demonstrate the connection between clean hands and good health, especially important when it comes to handling food.
In Yangon, Myanmar, children made a mural of colorful hand prints, participated in hand-washing practice sessions and some 200 gathered to form the shape of a large hand. These were all part of an outreach to schools undertaken by Mr. Saw Nay Ooh Keh in collaboration with WaterAid, Thirst-Aid, White Jasmine and Wisdom for Life.
In Benue State, Nigeria, good hygiene was promoted with hand-washing practice sessions in ten schools in the town of Makurdi, convened by Mr. Nanen Gangese and his organization, The Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN). They also commissioned environmental health clubs in those schools and have plans to replicate this in other schools across the state.
In Chennai, India, Ms. Padmapriya engaged children in activities including refresher handwashing and hygiene training, making pledges to follow good handwashing and hygiene practices at home, and sharing cards containing fun Tamil songs to sing that serve as reminders of handwashing and hygiene.
Meanwhile, in Kerala State, India, 50 schools participated in activities organized by Dr. Roy Kunjappy, including handwashing demonstrations, mass drills, a flash mob, rallies, seminars, public meetings and singing handwashing songs.
In Freetown, Sierra Leone, Mr. Lansana Kondeh met with students to inform them about the importance of hygiene in maintaining good health.
Also in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Mr. Mohamed Selman Khalil and his organization, Engineers Without Borders, constructed ‘tippy taps’ – water jugs suspended from thin poles through the handle – as a means of managing clean water for washing.
In Peshawar, Pakistan, Mr. Mohammad Ismael spread awareness of the importance and practice of handwashing at Malteser International School.
In Doula, Cameroon, Ms. Emmanuella Dione celebrated the day engaging and informing people through lectures, a short drama, singing and hand-washing exercises in schools, training centres and around the community.
Through these and numerous other fun and creative Global Handwashing Day activities – promoted through the efforts of WSSCC members – understanding of the importance of clean hands to human health appears to be spreading steadily throughout the world.
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