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The Global Handwashing Partnership

Global Handwashing Day 2019 Press Release

October 8, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – October 8, 2019. Every October 15th, millions of people celebrate Global Handwashing Day through worldwide celebrations, events, and advocacy campaigns. Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, an international coalition of organizations working to promote handwashing with soap. Handwashing with soap is a simple and effective way to prevent diseases and ensure overall health. In 2018, more than 570 million people promoted the simple, life-saving act of handwashing with soap on Global Handwashing Day.

This year’s Global Handwashing Day theme, “Clean Hands for All,” follows the year-long push to leave no one behind in the Sustainable Development agenda. Handwashing with soap is a simple, yet often neglected act. Inequalities in access to proper handwashing facilities and behavior change programs can put individuals at higher risk for diseases that impact their health, education, and economic outcomes. To achieve handwashing equity, this year’s Global Handwashing Day emphasizes the need to look to those often left behind and actively work to ensure inclusivity in handwashing efforts moving forward.

Globally, only 60% of the world’s population has access to a basic handwashing facility. Among vulnerable groups, handwashing is a greater challenge. In conflict-affected settings, children under 5 years of age are 20 times more likely to die of diarrhea than violence. Handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea in these settings by nearly half. Handwashing with soap is a critical way to ensure health for all.

Global Handwashing Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing. The Day encourages action to promote and sustain handwashing habits. Organizations and individuals can celebrate Global Handwashing Day by planning an event, participating in a digital campaign, or spreading the word about the importance of handwashing. Beyond Global Handwashing Day, communities should ensure handwashing stations with soap are accessible and appropriate, provide inclusive behavior change programming, and advocate for handwashing in policies to ensure clean hands for all.

About the Global Handwashing Partnership

The Global Handwashing Partnership is a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health. Steering Committee members include: FHI 360, the US Agency for International Development, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, UNICEF, the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council, Colgate- Palmolive, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the World Bank.

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Media contact: Aarin Palomares,

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