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Global Handwashing Day, October 15

Cleaner Hands for Brighter Futures

December 28, 2017

A double celebration of the Global Handwashing Day 2017 in Cambodia at Ang Meas Tani Primary School in Kampot province

By Alex Winkscha, Regional Coordinator for Cambodia and Lao PDR with the GIZ Regional Fit for School Program

Students and participants of Ang Meas Tani school in Angkor Chey district have fun getting their hands dirty – before they wash them at the schools facilities.

Better late than never—the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports celebrated this year’s Global Handwashing Day in December. The international celebration date of October 15 falls on the day of death of the late King-Father, however, this year the Ministry followed up with not only one, but two events to celebrate this event to raise awareness for healthy hygiene practices among students. Increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

Opening the event on December 11 in a school in Takeo province, Mr. Serey Chum Neah, Deputy Secretary of Education, Youth and Sports remarked: “Handwashing is a simple and low cost activity, but it gives us huge health benefits. I am hoping that this event contributes to reduce diarrhoea, respiratory diseases, and malnutrition.”

The provincial governor and the director of the provincial office of education of Kampot browse training materials on how to improve WASH in Schools.

The second celebration in Kampot province—a focus province of the MoEYS cooperation with GIZ to implement the Fit for School program—was opened by the Provincial Governor of Kampot Province, Mr. Chan Che Sda, who reminded attending students that as good and healthy students they should “regularly wash their hands with soap at school and brush their teeth after waking up and before going to bed.”

Both celebrations were organized by representatives of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport from national, provincial and district level, in close cooperation with the regional Fit for School program, implemented by GIZ and SEAMEO INNOTECH, and UNICEF Cambodia.

The theme for Global Handwashing Day 2017 is “Our Hands, Our Future,” emphasizing how handwashing protects our health, but also allows us to build our own futures, as well as those of our communities and the world.

In Cambodia, the Ministry of Education and Sports is implementing the Fit for School program since 2011 and the driving force behind the successful scaling up of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools across the country. As of December 2017, 70 schools in Kampot province implement daily group handwashing and toothbrushing as part of the Fit for School program. Almost 200 out of 306 schools in the province implement regular handwashing activities with their students.

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