Category Archives: Hygiene Promotion

Community-generated data crucial for implementing New Urban Agenda

Community-generated data crucial for implementing New Urban Agenda. CitiScope, Oct 20 2016.

Good urban planning can’t happen without a better understanding of informal settlements, advocates say.

Earlier this year, when the Liberian government wanted to demolish informal housing in the West Point section of Monrovia, local community members had a strong argument to dissuade them.


West Point, Monrovia. (Nick Fraser/flickr/cc)

Thanks to a slum profiling initiative done the previous year through Shack/Slum Dwellers International, the community knew that many of West Point’s rudimentary, wooden toilets — so-called “hanging toilets” because of how they are built over the water — were located where the demolitions would take place. The toilets likely would get destroyed too.

Destroying the toilets, they argued, would pose a public health threat.

“That was where we came with our data and said ‘no’,” recalls Bill Jlateh Harris, of Shack/Slum Dwellers International, who lives in West Point. “If you take away [toilets] you expose us to open defecation and disease outbreaks. We appealed to them, using our documents, to stop the demolition exercise. It worked. Those structures are still there, in fact. They were not touched.”

The data community members collected in West Point includes information about the number of taps and toilets in the area, as well as population figures. It is available online through the “Know Your City” campaign, a data initiative from Shack/Slum Dwellers international that provides community-generated data from more than 7,700 communities in 224 cities.

Read the complete article.

Fed up with no sewers, Pakistan’s slum residents go DIY

Fed up with no sewers, Pakistan’s slum residents go DIY | Source: Reuters, Oct 13 2016 |

In Orangi Town, home to an estimated 2.4 million people, residents have given up waiting for the government to install public services – and built them by hand

KARACHI, Pakistan, Oct 13 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – For Sultana Javed, one of dozens of residents living without proper sanitation on her street in the Orangi Town slum, the final straw came when her toddler daughter fell into the soak pit where the family disposed of their waste.


An aerial view of informal settlements in Orangi Town, Karachi on October 4, 2016. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Aamir Saeed

Since moving to the Gulshan-e-Zia area of the slum in Karachi nine years earlier, Javed had poured waste into the soak pit, a porous chamber that lets sewage soak into the ground and is often used by communities that lack toilets.

Javed, whose son caught dengue fever from mosquitoes near the pit outside their home, began mobilising others among 22 families on her street to install their own sewerage system.

“We are fed up with stench of wastewater and frequent mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever. So, we have decided to lay a sewerage pipeline in our street on a self-help basis,” Javed, 45, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Read the complete article.

15 October was Global Handwashing Day: take the quiz!


Photo: IRC

Are you a Handwashing Champion?

Each year on 15 October, over 200 million people in over 100 countries celebrate Global Handwashing Day. Their aim is to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap. This simple intervention is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Promoting handwashing with soap reduces the risk of diarrhoea by at least 23% according to a 2014 systematic review of research. Handwashing with soap impacts more than just health: it is also beneficial for nutrition, education, economics, and equity.

Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times. This year’s theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!” For handwashing to be effective it must be practised consistently at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food. While habits must be developed over time, this theme emphasises the importance of handwashing as a ritual behaviour for long-term sustainability.

IRC is proud to be an affiliate member of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. Especially for Global Handwashing Day we created a fun quiz so that you can not only test your knowledge but also learn a bit about what we are doing to promote handwashing.

Don’t forget to visit the Global Handwashing Day website for resources and updates on  global handwashing promotion. For the latest research and developments, also check out the handwashing posts on Sanitation Updates.

Now take the quiz to see if you are a Handwashing Champion!

This blog was originally posted on the IRC website.


Handwashing/hygiene research by the SHARE Project

Below are links to selected studies, videos, etc. by the SHARE project. share_logo_main_strap_rgb

Hygiene Promotion Resource: Choose Soap – The RIU Summary provides an overview of the objectives and intended RIU impact of the SHARE-commissioned Choose Soap toolkit.

Complementary Food Hygiene – An Overlooked Opportunity in the WASH, Nutrition and Health Sectors – This policy brief highlights the often overlooked opportunity that addressing complementary food hygiene offers the WASH, nutrition and health sectors for improving health outcomes.

The Impact of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene on Key Health and Social Outcomes: Review of Evidence – This evidence paper developed by SHARE and UNICEF looks at 10 areas identified collaboratively on which WASH can plausibly have a strong impact: diarrhoea, nutrition, complementary food hygiene, female psychosocial stress, violence, maternal and newborn health, menstrual hygiene management, school attendance, oral vaccine performance, and neglected tropical diseases.

Hygiene Intervention Reduces Contamination of Weaning Food in Bangladesh – This journal paper summarises the findings of a small, SHARE-funded intervention study that sought to reduce the contamination of weaning foods in Bangladesh by using the HACCP approach.

Focus on Handwashing in Emergency Settings – This event report summarises the proceedings of the ‘Focus on Handwashing in Emergency Settings’ event held at LSHTM on 19th December 2012.

Handwashing With Soap Guidelines – This four-page guidance note, produced by SHARE and LSHTM, explains the benefits of handwashing with soap, highlights when it has the most significant public health impact, and provides tips on how to encourage the practice.

Estimating the Potential Impact of Sanitary Child Stool Disposal – This policy brief highlights the often overlooked and enormous potential of hygienic child stool disposal to considerably reduce the prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases.

Effect of a Behaviour Change Intervention on Handwashing with Soap in India (SuperAmma): A Cluster Randomised Trial – This paper summarises the findings of a cluster randomised trial that tested whether a scalable village-level intervention based on emotional drivers of behaviour, rather than knowledge, could improve handwashing behaviour in rural India.

What Drives Handwashing Behaviour? – In this video, Dr Valerie Curtis, Director of the Hygiene Centre at LSHTM, discusses what drives us to wash our hands with soap.

Handwashing in the news

Oct 13 – Hilton Launches Major Expansion of Industry’s Largest Soap Recycling Program to Help Communities in Need – -Hilton announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to reduce hygiene-related illnesses for communities in need

Oct 12 – Students can Become ‘Hand Washing Champions’ in Celebration of Global Handwashing Day on October 15th – Each year on October 15th, over 200 million people in over 100 countries take part in celebrations to mark Global Handwashing Day. Once again, Deb Group is heavily involved in this day of advocacy.

Oct 11 – Dettol aims to educate millions across 19 countries on Global Handwashing Day  – As a part of the Global Handwashing Day celebrations, Dettol has launched a global campaign which aims to reach out to millions of people across 19 countries and educate them about importance of handwashing.

Oct 10 – WaterAid: Global Handwashing Day – It’s time to talk about the world’s simplest life-saver.

Oct 7 – Habits matter for Global Handwashing Day. This is why you should promote them! – Celebrated annually on October 15, Global Handwashing Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. This year’s theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!”. In light of this theme, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss how promoting habits as part of your celebration might lead to the development of sustained handwashing behavior.

Recently published studies on handwashing

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Oct 3. pii: 16-0420. Chlorination of Household Drinking Water among Cholera Patients’ Households to Prevent Transmission of Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae in Dhaka City: CHoBI7 Trial.

Authors: Rashid MU, George CM, et. al.

Household members of cholera patients are at a 100 times higher risk of cholera infections than the general population because of shared contaminated drinking water sources and secondary transmission through poor household hygiene practices. In this study, we investigated the bactericidal concentration of free chlorine required to inactivate Vibrio cholerae in household drinking water in Dhaka city. Findings suggest that point-of-use chlorine tablets present an effective approach to inactivate V. cholerae from drinking water in households of cholera patients in Dhaka city.

Matern Child Nutr. 2016 Oct;12 (4):869-84. Handwashing, sanitation and family planning practices are the strongest underlying determinants of child stunting in rural indigenous communities of Jharkhand and Odisha, Eastern India: a cross-sectional study.

Authors: Saxton J, Rath S, et. al.

We sought to identify the strongest determinants of stunting among indigenous children in rural Jharkhand and Odisha, India, to highlight key areas for intervention. In the adjusted model, the strongest protective factors for linear growth included cooking outdoors rather than indoors, birth spacing ≥24 months, and handwashing with a cleansing agent (HAZ +0.32).

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Sep 1;13(9). Exploring Determinants of Handwashing with Soap in Indonesia: A Quantitative Analysis.

Authors: Hirai M, Graham JP, et. al.

This study analyzes rural Indonesian households’ hygiene behaviors and attitudes to examine how motivations for handwashing, locations of handwashing space in the household, and handwashing moments are associated with handwashing with soap as potential determinants of the behavior. Our results showed that determinants that had a significant association with handwashing with soap included: (1) a desire to smell nice; (2) interpersonal influences; (3) the presence of handwashing places within 10 paces of the kitchen and the toilet; and (4) key handwashing moments when hands felt dirty, including after eating and after cleaning child stools. This study concludes that handwashing with soap may be more effectively promoted through the use of non-health messages.

January – June 2016 Handwashing Research Summary – Between January and June 2016, 32 relevant peer-reviewed studies on handwashing were identified. Learn about key findings during this time period .

Authors: PPPHW

Robert Dreibelbis on Handwashing Behavior Change in Bangladesh

Robert Dreibelbis on Handwashing Behavior Change in Bangladesh: Global Waters Radio.

“What we are hoping to do with this study is assess the feasibility of using nudges to change handwashing behavior — so instead of changing how people make decisions, you change the context in which those decisions are actually made.” dreibel.png

Robert Dreibelbis is a Lecturer at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and an Assistant Professor in the University of Oklahoma’s Department of Anthropology and Department of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences.

In honor of Global Handwashing Day (October 15th), Dreibelbis shares with Global Waters Radio his experiences with a handwashing behavior change pilot project in Bangladesh that delivered promising results obtained using subconscious environmental cues called “nudging.”

Without the use of additional handwashing education interventions, the nudge-based intervention implemented by Dreibelbis and his team increased handwashing among school children by 72 percent during the trial period.