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The Global Handwashing Partnership

Hygiene Kits: thinking globally, acting locally

July 18, 2018

Ed. note: This post continues our series on how our partners are contributing to SDG 6, with a post from International Aid on involving local communities in the US to solve the global hygiene challenge.

By Bryony Schultz, International Aid

For over 38 years, International Aid has worked to combat global health issues by providing medical equipment, health resources, and hygiene supplies to people suffering  from the impacts of natural disasters and  poverty in vulnerable areas of the world.

As an advocate of WASH and Sustainable Development Goal 6, International Aid understands that proper basic hygiene is the front line of defense against the spread of disease. Since the spring of 2014, we have invited our local communities from western Michigan to participate in our Hygiene Kit Packing Events. This has offered us opportunity to promote the basic practice of washing hands with soap and water and the positive impact this makes on global health.  This provides an opportunity for community groups to get engaged in working towards SDG 6 and solving the global hygiene challenge.

These events have produced hundreds of thousands of hygiene kits that we have distributed around the world.  Every hygiene kit includes full sized personal hygiene items: shampoo, bar soap, washcloth, comb, toothbrush and two mini toothpastes.  Since the spring of 2014 hundreds of thousands of hygiene kits have been distributed in 8 different countries around the world, including: Nepal, Ecuador, Guatemala, Kenya, Sierra Leone, USA, Jordon and Philippines.  They are an excellent resource immediately following natural disasters when the risk is high for spreading germs and disease. This work is  an integral part of International Aid’s mission to provide appropriate and sustainable medical equipment and health resources to global partners that serve people in need.

International Aid has celebrated Global Handwashing Day at our corporate offices, and on school premises, over the last 3 years.  We have held handwashing relays, glitter demonstrations that highlight how illnesses can be spread with our hands, and other fun activities intended to engage children in proper hygiene and handwashing.

Our Global Handwashing Day celebration allowed us to engage communities in fun activities that educate on proper handwashing. This works in tandem with our hygiene kits that contain soap and other personal care items. International Aid has even produced a fun and catchy song about the importance of proper handwashing.

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