October 15, 2015
On the occasion of the Global Handwashing Day, Terre des hommes teams worldwide have organised events in ten countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. They aim to reach over 250,000 people with a campaign to wash hands with soap at critical times. Aligned with the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, Terre des hommes recognizes hygiene as a pillar of international development and health as an easy, effective, and affordable “do-it-yourself vaccine” that prevents infections and saves lives.
In 2015, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, citing data from 54 countries, highlighted that current levels of handwashing with soap are low in many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Our project teams in the field report that people are aware of the importance, however the actual practice of handwashing with soap at critical times is inconsistent. In Colombia, for example, children have expressed that many parents and teachers do not model good practices, and handwashing stations with water and soap are lacking.
In addition to supporting water and sanitation infrastructure, Terre des hommes has designed and tested creative ways to promote hygiene, often focusing on changing the social norm in favour of handwashing with soap. We will work in in schools, health facilities and public marketplaces in 75 municipalities via:
In Sri Lanka, for example the project strategy calls for influencing healthy environments in schools and communities. Student members of the School Health Promotion Clubs will prepare different posters and conduct peer handwashing demonstrations. And in Bangladesh, Terre des hommes is partnering with the Department of Public Health and Engineering for events through the end of October designed to reach over 100’000 persons in Kurigram District.
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