As humans, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is central to our existence on this planet. This explains why the United Nations and other international organizations set aside certain days to annually bring global attention to WASH through the commemoration of different days.
For instance, March 22, World Water Day is an annual UN observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. November 19, World Toilet Day is an official United Nations international observance day on to inspire action towards tackling global sanitation crisis. May 28, Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management.
October 15, Global Handwashing Day is a campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their hand washing habits especially washing with soap at critical points during the day. The theme for this year’s Global Handwashing Day, “Clean Hands for All,” is closely linked to this year’s World Water Day Campaign “Leaving no one behind.”
It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%. A recent research posits that a million deaths recorded annually could be prevented if everyone routinely washed their hands, thereby, hindering germs from getting into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth.
With reports that worldwide, 4.5 billion people live without “safely managed sanitation” and around 892 million people practice open defecation, this year’s Global Handwashing Day is an important reminder that we must be inclusive when addressing handwashing disparities. Since the first Global Handwashing Day in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing, built sinks and tippy taps, and have demonstrated the simplicity and value of clean hands.
This year, Media for Community Change Initiative and BLI Global are running a week-long (Tuesday, October 15 to Saturday, October 19) campaign to spotlight Global Handwashing Day and call for action, we are also calling on you and people around the world to join us we will raise awareness about Global Handwashing Day and the critical importance of washing hands with soap.
In 3 simple steps:
- Take a photo of yourself in an interesting WASH situation (for example, a running tap, washing the hand of a child, a toilet/pit-latrine facility, etc.)
- Write a message about what you think can be done to improve WASH and/or encourage handwashing as a healthy habit, include hashtags like #GlobalHandwashingDay #CleanHandsforAll #Data4WASH #CleanHands #WASH
- Post online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), tag at least 5 people or organizations (Suggestions: @Mediaforcc, @WaterAid, @WaterAidNigeria, @bliglobal)
Please, encourage others to do the same too, we will be engaging all posts and featuring some on our website, newsletters and IECs.