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UNICEF Ghana Celebrates Global Handwashing Day

Organizers: UNICEF, Ghana Education Service, Community Water and Sanitation Agency

To herald Global Handwashing Day, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) launched a Tippy Tap competition among schools in the Mion District on October 14th as an innovative and cost effective way to promote handwashing with soap in all 75 schools. The launching ceremony took place at Sang, the district capital, where the District Chief Executive and his Coordinating Director, the Regent and other traditional leaders, and officials from the GES and UNICEF converged amid hundreds of school children to grace the occasion. In a welcome address, the Mion District Director of Education expressed profound appreciation for the choice of Mion by UNICEF, saying he believed that the competition would help promote health and hygiene in all the schools in the district. He urged all the teachers and pupils in the schools to fully participate in the competition in order to realize the health benefits from the initiative. In his address to launch the competition, the DCE of Mion, Hon. Dan Makandan, said UNICEF had selected his district because it was the most progressive district in the Northern Region in terms of achievements in sanitation improvement through strong political, administrative and technical leadership.

Tippy Tap is a very simple, easy to manufacture with locally available materials, easy to install and low cost tool for handwashing with soap. Scientific assessments have also revealed that it uses very small amount of water compared with other systems and also facilitates handwashing with soap under running water. Through the CLTS programme, most rural communities in the Mion District have already constructed household latrines, almost all of which have tippy taps and other forms of handwashing facilities attached. This means that there is already an appreciable level of awareness of handwashing with soap at homes. Yet the same cannot be said about schools. In order to ensure total hygiene both at home and at school, UNICEF and GES believe that the Tippy Tap competition will provide the surest way and a rapid result. At the launching ceremony, pupils from the Sang Islamic Junior High School performed a brilliant drama that clearly provided a lot of education on the need for effective hand washing in every home and school. The drama also demonstrated how a Tippy tap is constructed and how it is used. Teachers will be trained on how to construct the Tippy Tap, after which a criteria for the competition will be developed for monitoring and assessment. The criteria will mainly focus on innovation and practice of handwashing with soap among school children in the district. If effective, the competition will be replicated in other districts in Northern Ghana.

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