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The Global Handwashing Partnership

Clean Hands for All – New tools for hygiene advocacy

February 28, 2018

Handwashing with soap is an amazing tool to defeat diarrheal diseases, reduce newborn and child mortality, and much more. Hygiene advocacy helps to build the right enabling environment to make this life-saving behavior accessible to all. To support hygiene advocacy on global and national levels, the Global Handwashing Partnership is launching our new advocacy toolkit, Clean Hands for All.

Handwashing with soap prevents diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia, protects against healthcare-acquired infections, and supports progress in education, equity, and economic growth. However, only an estimated 19% of people wash their hands after contact with excreta, and in some countries fewer than 10% of households have a handwashing station with soap and water. New UNICEF figures showed that 7,000 newborns died every day in 2016. More than 20% of those deaths were caused by diarrhea, pneumonia, or sepsis, which could be prevented through handwashing with soap.

Photo credit: USAID

Many changes are needed to increase handwashing rates, including infrastructure, behavior change, financing, and policy. Advocacy allows people who seek an increase in handwashing behaviors to influence change on a large scale, beyond what we can directly control. For example, handwashing advocates are working to make sure that schools have appropriate handwashing facilities, that health strategies include behavior change strategies to encourage handwashing, and that investments in nutrition include a focus on the importance of hygiene.

Photo credit: UNICEF

The Global Handwashing Partnership’s new Clean Hands for All toolkit can be used by advocates to influence decision makers to improve access to hygiene facilities, behaviors, and the enabling environment.  It shares tools, tips, and resources to support hygiene advocacy efforts.  It draws on successful advocacy strategies used by the Global Handwashing Partnership and our members, including:

  • Data and talking points to convince your audience of the importance of handwashing;
  • Case studies of how our partners have influenced decision makers to change policies;
  • Recommendations for social media, sign-on letters, policy meetings, and other common advocacy strategies; and
  • Worksheets for designing, planning, and monitoring hygiene advocacy efforts.

The toolkit also includes an overview of why handwashing with soap is vital to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals; messages and recommendations for hygiene in schools, healthcare facilities, and workplaces; and tools to plan, implement, and monitor advocacy activities.

The Global Handwashing Partnership believes that anyone can be an advocate for handwashing. We encourage you to adapt the toolkit to meet your needs. For additional ideas, resources, and support in your advocacy efforts, contact the Global Handwashing Partnership.

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