Global Handwashing Day: 200 million lather up for clean hands

More than 200 million schoolchildren, parents, teachers, celebrities and government officials in 80 countries lathered up in the third annual Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2010. This year’s celebrations revolved around schools and children, and the theme “more than just a day“ aimed to make the simple, life-saving practice of washing hands a regular habit.

To ensure that efforts go far beyond one single day, the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap launched several tools including a “100 School Survey” questionnaire, a monitoring toolkit, the More than Just a Day brochure, and the “Get Bubbly” children’s game.

Global Handwashing Day poster

Some noteworthy activities on Global Handwashing Day 2010 were:

  • An attempt to establish a new handwashing Guinness World RecordClose by close to 20,000 school children and adults in Kenya
  • A handwashing parade in Sri Lanka with students and decision-makers
  • The launch a national ‘100 school survey’ campaign in Venezuela
  • UNICEF’s donation of free soap to 1,700 schools in Afghanistan
  • Handwashing demonstrations in Viet Nam, Laos and Syria
  • Student contests in Ethiopia, along with the launch of a media campaign to target schools, health institutions, and youth and women’s associations
  • Radio and television spots on handwashing in Guinea
  • In Mali, the President of the High Council of Local Government in Mali launched national GHD activities in presence of the international musician and UNICEF Ambassador, Habib Koïté
  • In the Philippines, the government, NGOs and the private sector signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to institutionalise handwashing in schools and day care centres
  • In India, soap brand Lifebuoy is aiming to get more than 23 million students in the states of Tamil Nadu state and Andhra Pradesh take an oath to wash their hands before every meal and after using the toilet.
  • Under the slogan “Clean hands save lives”, over 30,000 schoolchildren in 26 schools across Iraq were taught how to wash their hands correctly
  • Across Albania, World Vision promoted handwashing among 1,000 children aged three to 12

Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, a coalition of international stakeholders including the Academy for Educational Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colgate-Palmolive, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Procter & Gamble, The Water and Sanitation Program, The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, World Bank, UNICEF, Unilever, USAID and WaterAid.

Related web sites:

Source: UNICEF, 15 Oct 2010 ; Kaiser Family Foundation, 15 Oct 2010

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