Global Handwashing Day

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Logo used for Global Handwashing Day around the world. Shown in the image are water, soap, and hand

Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is a campaign to motivate and mobilize millions around the world to improve their handwashing habits by washing their hands with soap at critical moments throughout each day. It takes place on October 15 of each year. The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.

GHD was created at the annual World Water Week 2008, which was held in Stockholm from August 17 to 23 and initiated by the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW). The first Global Handwashing Day took place on October 15, 2008, the date appointed by the UN General Assembly in accordance with year 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation.[1]

The theme for Global Handwashing Day’s inaugural year was Focus on School Children. The members pledged to get the maximum number of school children handwashing with soap in more than 70 countries.


The campaign was initiated to reduce childhood mortality rates related respiratory and diarrheal diseases by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as handwashing with soap. This simple, accessible action can, according to research, reduce the rate of mortality from these diseases by almost 50 per cent.[2]

Importance of the movement[edit]

Hand washing with soap is the single most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARI), as automatic behavior performed in homes, schools, and communities worldwide. Pneumonia, a major ARI, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, taking the life of an estimated 1.8 million children per year. Diarrhea and pneumonia together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually.[3] According to the official site, turning hand washing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit was projected to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter. Handwashing is usually integrated together with other sanitation interventions as part of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes.

Implementation and management[edit]

The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) established Global Handwashing Day in 2008 as a way to promote a global and local vision of handwashing with soap. Members of the PPPHW include the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); Procter & Gamble; the University at Buffalo; FHI 360; Unilever; the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC); the Hygiene Centre at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[4] Resource for information and activities for the event are coordinated through its official website. Updates and tools are also available on the PPPHW’s Twitter Account (@handwashingsoap) and the Global Handwashing Day Facebook page (

In 2013, the PPPHW hosted the first-ever virtual Global Handwashing Day celebration via Google Hangout. The PPPHW also debuted a new video collaboration with Sesame Street.

In each country where activities are planned, a convening institution brings together other organizations that have an interest in handwashing to coordinate activities. The 70 countries include: Afghanistan, Angola, UAE, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, The Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Founding bodies[edit]

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Procter & Gamble
World Bank Water & Sanitation Program
United States Agency for International Development

Turnout across the globe[edit]


A committee led by the Health Ministry drove the implementation of the following activities on 15 October and onwards: Launch of Global Handwashing Day in a primary school in Kabul by the Minister of Public Health. Of handwashing and other related competitions in school across 32 provinces organized by the Ministry of Education, panel discussion on Handwashing on National TV, radio program on Handwashing for a month. And newspapers supplement on handwashing.[5]


The 2012 Global Handwashing Day in Afghanistan was dedicated to the eradication of polio and to raising awareness of the importance of handwashing in the eradication of polio. Afghanistan is one of only three countries where polio has never been eradicated.


More than 14.4 million Bangladeshi children from nearly 73,000 schools joined in this event. The biggest hand washing day was held in Dhaka residential model college

At Puranpara Government Primary School in Narsingdi district, a wall magazine was displayed, encouraging students to participate in a painting competition with the theme of a hand washing. A total of 300 students were present and actively involved in various activities. Shuchi, Pakhee and Faisal demonstrated before their peers the correct method of hand washing with soap. Shuchi described the six critical times for the students to wash their hands: before eating; before feeding children; before preparing or serving food; after using the latrine; after cleaning babies; and after disposal of child faeces. Faisal sang a song insisting all students copy him by using safe hand-washing practices (Cholo jai, haath dhui).


Global Handwashing Day 2012 was celebrated by Save the Children International Bangladesh and Partner NGOs in 47 Districts (Upazillas) with huge community participation. Union level, community, and school events like rallies, hand washing demonstrations and discussion sessions were organized. Participants included children, teachers, school management committee members, parents, government officials and other local stakeholders.

Events were held in Barguna and Kurigram.


National launch ceremony included, as guest speakers, the Ministers of Rural Development, Health and Education, participants included local comedian Chhab Chean, school children and His Majesty the King of Cambodia. Events included television advertising, primary school activities and ceremonies in 100 villages in nine provinces.

All primary schools throughout the country had been advised to celebrate GHD on October 15 and had been provided with materials and guidelines.[6]



Events were held in Ahala and Messamena Village.[7]


On Global Handwashing Day, there were education activities on proper handwashing methods, involving 8 million students in 10 provinces in school campuses nationwide. Government officials from the Ministry of Education and other Public and Private sector partners announced the ‘Healthy Great Wall’ Foundation with the aim of reaching 100 million Chinese kids by 2015. Also, a mass billboard campaign and TV spots were reminders to participate in the celebration.

The event, which featured games and educational activities for children, promoted correct handwashing technique and attracted an estimated 2,000 local residents and students. The event was organized by National Patriotic Health Campaign Committee, and Health Education Institute of China CDC with support from UNICEF.[8]


Comoros is proud to be the next celebrant to Global Handwashing Day on 15 October.

Democratic Republic of Congo[edit]


Dominican Republic[edit]



The hand washing day initiative was launched as part of the School Sanitation and Hygiene Education Project (SSHE), that is supported by UNICEF, the provincial authorities, the Egyptian Ministry of Education, USAID and the Water Authority. The SSHE project engages the teachers, the parents associations and the children of some 159 primary schools and communities in three districts of the Sohag Governorate; namely Dar El Salam, Geheina and Sakolta.

In Upper Egypt, children have become real agents of changes. By talking to their parents about simple behavioral changes such as washing hands with soap before and after eating or after using the toilets, these school children are spreading around awareness for a hygienically healthier life. Inspired by their children, parents’ behaviour is also changing. They pay more attention to the personal hygiene of their children.[9]


2013 300 people celebrated Global Handwashing Day in Addis Ababa.[10]


The half-day Global Handwashing Day national event held at Maskal Square featured over 300 schoolchildren from five elementary schools. They marched and sang to promote handwashing with soap as an important hygienic practice that reduces the prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory illnesses.![11]

CRS Ethiopia disseminated a quiz to staff, encouraged staff to play the World Wash Up game, and displayed posers, restroom signs, and brochures promoting handwashing.[12]



Port-Gentil. ABUFAK celebrated Global Handwashing Day for the first time in 2012 by writing an educational booklet, making posters to promote handwashing, and designing a mobile hand washer.[13]


50,000 handwashing posters and workbooks were sent by SCA to German primary schools. 2012

Berlin. Together with 100 pupils we were on the Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin, demonstrating for "Handwashing with soap - health care no. 1". In the project „Klobalisierte Welt“ (a word play on globalized world) pupils from four different schools in Berlin thought up creative installations on the theme of handwashing. They showed that handwashing with soap and toilets are essential to a healthy life. The handwashing constructions invited participation, photo collages stimulate thought and balloons resemble oversized soap bubbles.[14]


Global Handwashing Day in Ghana started with a launching event at a Children’s Park on 15 October 2008, with the attendance of local authorities and representatives from both the Public and Private sectors.

With the help of the National School Health Educational Program (NSHEP), schools nationwide marked the day. Children were in charge of the Handwashing Stations and parades in Accra and Tamele to sensitize the public to wash their hands. Radio and TV talk shows – panel discussions, PSA on handwashing with soap. There was also a children’s forum on handwashing and development and dissemination of IEC materials on HWWS.[15]


The Global Handwashing Day in Ghana was official commemorated in seven out of ten regions in the country. Ceremonies were organised by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency in the Brong Ahafo, Upper East, Upper West, Eastern, Volta, Western and the Greater Accra Regions. Over 10,000 participants comprising schools, community health nurses, environmental health staff, traditional leaders, market women, NGOs, religious leaders and the media participated in various events organised across Ghana. Radio and TV programs were organised prior to the country-wide celebrations. All schools across Ghana received a circular signed by the Director General of the Ghana Education Service directing them to observe the day as well.

The celebrations were a Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap Programme (PPPHW), a joint effort of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), CONIWAS, the World Bank, UNICEF, WaterAid, Plan Ghana, Unilever, World Vision, and other public, development and private partners. The vision of the PPPHW is to make handwashing with soap at critical times the accepted and practiced norm among all in Ghana.[16]

Events were held in Accra,[17][18][19] Humjibre, Sefwi-Bekwai, and Tema.



Nzerekore. 3,000 children from 6 primary schools participated in handwashing demonstrations and animated skits on hygiene and hand washing. The ceremony was chaired by the Governor of the region Nzerekore and widely publicized by the national radio and local radio stations.[20]


In September and October, a mass media campaign was held in India with the support of Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh, two hugely popular cricket celebrities.

Almost 1 million school teachers received training courses to execute the campaign and to reach out to about 100 million school children. Materials developed included: posters, teacher training module on handwashing, pamphlet with pledge for students, TV spots and radio jingles, all including 25 seconds central song on the 5 steps for correct handwashing.

The concerned ministers at national and state levels launched the campaign on 15 October by participating in the handwashing activities with children in rural schools. Activities in schools included: children pledging towards hygiene, organized handwashing games and washing hands in a giant waterfall.

Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his teammates joined an estimated 100 million schoolchildren around the country in lathering up for better health and hygiene as part of the first Global Handwashing Day.[21]


Theme: "Handwashing with soap and clean water stops microbes" Included a national competition of drawings on hand washing with soap at 100 schools Launching of the certification of Hygiene friendly Schools - a program initiated by the Alliance of WASH in Schools and MoEd Graduation of 15 junior hygiene promoters

Press conference with Government for launching the national campaign and engaging stakeholders Official launch - high visibility GHD event at a school in Port-au-Prince Official celebration of GHD in 7 regional locations organised by MoEd with support of UNICEF, WHO and NGOs (departments of West, North, South, North East, South East, Central, Artibonite….) Educational sessions and demonstration of hand washing in 8,000 schools benefitting 160,000 children TV show on 3 local channels for large public for awareness raising on the impact of regular practice of hand washing for cholera prevention

Community meetings, demonstrations of hand washing (with tippy taps), photo exhibition, dissemination of key messages by 85 local organizations and 30 international organizations Observation sessions to count people washing their hands in key places and schools[22]

Plan Haiti also held events.[23]

Events were held in Leogane.

Hong Kong[edit]

To celebrate Global Handwashing Day 2012, the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF HK) made a breakthrough by inviting schools, non-governmental organisations, corporations, the Government and general public to take part in the Global Handwashing Day “Soap for Good” Project. Five soap-making workshops were held in Hong Kong while three were held in Shenzhen, China for participants to make recycled soaps. With full support, the event marked an unprecedented success and more people were reached to understand the message of “Wash with Soap, Live with Hope”!

The “Soap for Good” Project, initiated by UNICEF HK, collected hotel soaps through the supporting organisation Soap Cycling. Through holding soapmaking workshops and distributing material packs for participants to make recycled soaps by themselves, the Project gained overwhelming support from shopping centres, education institutions, corporations and general public. A few thousand bars of recycled soap were made along with handwritten greeting cards.

On the day before Global Handwashing Day, 14 October 2012, Hong Kong government official, guests from non-governmental organisations, corporations and UNICEF HK council members demonstrated the seven steps of handwashing and made soaps in support of the Global Handwashing Day and “Soap for Good” Project. To further promote the importance of handwashing with soaps, guests and volunteers distributed over 2,000 recycled soap to residents living in Sham Shui Po, a poor district in Hong Kong along with the “seven steps of handwashing” stickers, to promote the Day and the awareness and of handwashing with soap.[24]



Events were held in Bhavnagar, Gujarat,[25] Maharashtra, Goa, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh,[26] and Barpeta.[27]


Events were held in Dhubri, Assam,[28] Kapurthala,[29] Kelambakkam & Pooncheri,[30] Kozhikode,[31] Rajasthan, Rupnagar,[32] Shivpuri,[33] Sivsagar, Assam, Sonitpur,[34] Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh,[35] and Vikravandy, Tamil Nadu.[36]



Plan Indonesia collaborated with other actors to host a robust and interactive celebration of Global Handwashing Day.[37]

Bekasi District, West Java Province. Oxfam Indonesia with local partner BMP Bekasi in Bekasi District actively promoted handwashing with soap through Public Health Promotion activities and also other activities in Public Health. A commemoration was conducted in a week of campaign, starting with a talk show and workshop. In the workshop, representatives of head master, school committee, and Posyandu cadres participated and resulted an action plan to implement activities in school supporting practice hand washing with soap. Beside that, handwashing with soap practice for 874 elementary school students conducted on the day of GHD 15 October 2012, as they are is the main target of Global Handwashing Day commemoration.[38]

NTT Province. Oxfam Indonesia with local partner CIS Timor in Belu District, NTT Province conducted several activities for 250 students from 15 elementary students in Betun Sub-District. Those activities included a drawing competition, poster design competition and giant snake ladder competition.[39]

Padang and Padang Pariaman District, West Java Province. Oxfam Indonesia with local partner PKBI West Sumatera hosted activities in two elementary school in the Sunur Sub-District (200 students). These included handwashing with soap socialization, drawing and coloring competition, giant snake and ladder competition, and a clean and hygiene school competition. A radio talk show set up in Radio Damai about the important behavior of handwashing with soap reached all Padang Pariaman community (around 300,000 person).[40]


There were activities held in schools in northern Iraq, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The activities included: conducting activities in 24 primary schools, where a number of headmasters were invited to witness the activities on that day. Also, students designed posters with the messages provided by the WASH program. Hygiene kits were provided to 24 schools. The school activity center prepared songs written specially for this occasion, and they were sung by the school children.

The songs were recorded in CD and copies of these were provided to other schools.[41]



The Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) wanted 100 researchers among children age of 8-12, and got over 700 applicants all over Japan. 122 children researchers made a handwashing reality survey to 536 persons based on the prepared sheet. The results were collected and published as "The state of our handwashing 2012" with infographs before Global Handwashing Day. It found that half of people surveyed wash their hands less than 20 seconds. We named this activity 'fake handwashing'. It also found that the most forgotten placed to be washed is around the thumb; 34.5% don't wash there. Women wash hands better and more frequently than men; boys aged 0–9 mostly wash their hands in 5 seconds.

Voices from researchers: "I didn't care about handwashing before. But I'm changed after the survey." "I should be a coach on proper handwashing for my family and friends." They were motivated to protect their health with handwashing! Some schools did the survey by health club students. A nursing teacher said "Saying 'wash your hands' are not enough, we should tell them where you should wash."

JCU prepared posters, handbook, and DVD for free. On the website, much content can be downloaded included "handmade bubble-hat" to enjoy handwashing and dance for children. These were used freely at many kindergarten, nursing schools, elementary schools and homes.

To celebrate Global Handwashing Day, many events were also organized. Mr. Kaiji Moriyama, a dancer who choreograph "Global Handwashing Dance", demonstrated it to children and families.



A school in Rusaifeh demonstrated when and how to wash hands with soap.[42]



Narok County

Hundreds of pupils in Narok County, Kenya, attended events in their schools to learn about the benefits of handwashing from other students, social workers and teachers. The children committed to continue washing hands with soap and to take the message to their homes. The events were organized by Kenya's ministries for health and education together with the AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance Project, also known as APHIAplus Nuru ya Bonde. The project is a partnership of USAID and the Government of Kenya implemented by FHI 360.[43]

2012 National event was held in Kisumu Town. This was a road show involving school children around Kisumu Municipality led by education officials on motorbikes and trucks to the ground. The commemoration was led by the Minister for Public Health and Sanitation, and it included poems, songs, drama and speeches by children.

Seven more districts held activities on Global Handwashing Day - In addition to Nairobi, Mombasa, Nyeri, Machakos, Busia, Trans Nzoia and Wajir - Ministry of Education and Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation relayed information to their officers on the ground to commemorate this day by involving schools within their jurisdiction to wash hands on that day. 100,000 children were reached across the country on that day. Information was relayed to the national secretariat through SMS on the numbers who had washed their hands.[44] The Ministry of Public Health & Sanitation Kenya together with their Partners (Dettol, Colgate-Palmolive, Lifebouy, Safeguard, USAID, FHI 360, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, World Vision, KWAHO, CDN, CHUJIO, and many others) supported this year’s Global Handwashing Day activities. The events, celebrated in eight provinces, were very successful and we managed to wash 1,510,935 children.

PROVINCE & Number of Pupils Washed 1 Coast 229,245 2 Nyanza 230005 3 Western 236943 4 North eastern 38,080 5 Nairobi 36,721 6 Eastern 248,719 7 Rift Valley province 357,791 8 Central 133,431 TOTALS KENYA 1,510,935[45][46]


Samir Singh, Global Vice President Lifebuoy Unilever, and Frank Braeken, Executive Vice President Africa Unilever, visited NPC Buruburu Primary School in Nairobi on Global Handwashing Day to teach children how and when to wash their hands. This was part of Lifebuoy's day of activities, which included a press conference to announce Unilever’s partnership with Millennium Villages, a dinner to discuss handwashing with soap, and public-private partnership activities with senior attendees from the Kenyan government, NGOs, and Unilever.

Lifebuoy’s “School of Five” programme teaches children to wash their hands with soap on five occasions throughout the day by using engaging and interactive games, songs, dances and a practical glo-germ demonstration. Lifebuoy partners with NGOs and charities including PSI, the Earth Institute’s Millennium Village Project and UNICEF to deliver handwashing programmes across the world.[47]

CRS and Caritas Malindi participated in various planning forums and also supported the event with items which included: a canvas banner and t-shirts for 120 hygiene club members from 4 primary schools and their patrons. Participants for the event included 1,000 pupils and 100 guests: district WASH stakeholders, local administration, teachers and members of school management committees.

Dandora, Nairobi

On 15 October 2012 WASH United, in partnership with Global Peace Youth Corps Kenya, commemorated Global Handwashing Day in Dandora, Nairobi. The day’s events focused on increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap. To do so, WASH United relied on its Handwashing Challenge, an interactive educational game that is expected to invoke a discussion around transmission pathways of germs and the demonstrate the benefit of proper handwashing with soap. The general public also had a chance to get WASH United merchandise including team t-shirts, footballs and posters and stickers featuring top football stars Macdonald Mariga and Didier Drogba.

In attendance were select representatives from community based schools and organizations drawn from Starehe, Makadara, Kasarani and Dandora constituencies and members of the public. The opening address will focus on current opportunities to promote handwashing with soap and challenges especially in securing behavior change in schools. Thereafter participants walked the talk by participating in a 1 km handwashing demonstration walk to promote the importance of handwashing with soap.

Nyeri County

The Kenyan Minister for Public Health and Sanitation, Hon. Beth Mugo, MP, EBS joined the national event in Nyeri County by washing hands with thousands of children. 13,700 children attended.[48]


Liberia is proud to be the next Global Handwashing Day celebrant.


Harper. A number of schools participated in a parade in Harper city, outdoor activities, and an indoor program on the importance of celebrating Global Handwashing Day.[49]


On 13 October the Ministry of Education organized a Hygiene and Sanitation Day and activities that were held during the extracurricular hours in all primary and secondary schools and teacher training colleges throughout the country.

Activities included cleaning the school and its surrounding environment, displaying banners in school to promote handwashing and good hygiene practices, putting handwashing with soap into practice, singing hygiene songs and playing games. During the week advertisements aired on the national TV and provincial radios In the Vientiane capital street banners highlighting the Global Handwashing Day and key messages were put up along the main roads.[50]


In Madagascar 19,300 primary schools participated in a week-long event. Handwashing with soap activities involving schools and the community, culminated on October 15 with 3.5 million children washing hands with soap at noon. President Ravalomanana led the Day. Three Ministries issued a joint statement to the Prime Minister to officialize Global Handwashing Day. A parade of schoolchildren through the capital took place on October 15.[51]


Antananarivo. Diorano WASH coalition has celebrated this event in the rural commune of Ankadikely Ilafy with a thousand children from public and private schools and community members.[52]


In Malaysia, Global Handwashing Day was celebrated providing handwashing sampling in schools, kindergarten and clinics. There was also news coverage and advertisements on TV, radio and print media. Malaysia declared the whole month “the month of handwashing with soap”.[53]


Lifebuoy Global Handwashing Day 2013 was marked in the Maldives in Male' City in 2 November at Male' Sports Complex. The event was organized by Stas Creative Solutions Pvt. Ltd. under our social responsibility programs. The event was supported by Unilever and Bestbuy Maldives, the sole distributor for Lifebuoy product line. The event was closely monitored and supported by Health Protection Agency of the Ministry of Health, Maldives. This is the first time this day is marked in the Maldives.[54]


Malta is proud to be the next celebrant to Global Handwashing Day on 15 October, starting in 2012. A Hand-washing Art Competition is organised by the Malta Medical Students’ Association.[55]


Mauritius is proud to be the next celebrant of Global Handwashing Day on 15 October starting from 2012.



For GHD 2012, Escudo and its strategic partners hosted a 5th Anniversary of the Global Handwashing Day Celebration. For this celebration, a press conference and a children’s rally were held to promote hand washing in elementary schools. The event was a success in terms of attendance (1,738 people exclusively of Escudo) and key messages communication.[56]


Mongolia marked Global Handwashing Day by reaching out to school children through engaging communication materials including Public Service Announcements and short cartoon animations on proper handwashing practice. On October 15, the Ministers of Health and Education opened a kindergarten and promoted the practice of proper handwashing in the Bayangol district of Ulaanbaatar City. Also, Provincial Governors demonstrated proper handwashing practice to school children in four provincial capitals namely Bayan-Ulgii, Khovd, Uvs and Dornod.[57]


The Mongolian Global Hand Washing Working Group announced the celebration of the 5th Global Handwashing Day in Mongolia through a different set of initiatives. The four main activities planned for the 2012 GHD in Mongolia included: - Developing and printing communication materials - Press conference - Outdoor event in Freedom Square - E-mail marketing



Naypyitaw. Over 219,000 children celebrated Global Handwashing Day on October 14 – National School Sanitation Day.[58]

Taunggyi. 6,152 students along with primary school headmasters and teachers celebrated Global Handwashing Day.[59]


Nepal Telecom mobile users received a text message with the slogan, "Let's wash our hands and keep ourselves healthy!" And drivers from the Rickshaw Pullers Association raised awareness in all corners of the three major Kathmandu Valley cities. Their rickshaws were decorated with handwashing messages, and the drivers disseminated pamphlets and stickers to thousands of people.

Schools also got involved in the campaign when the Private and Boarding Schools Organization of Nepal (PABSON) announced that all of its 9,000 member schools would make sure soap and water are available in all school toilets, bathrooms and canteens.

The General Post Office announced that it would use a postmark with a special handwashing message to stamp all the letters and documents posted for 15 days.[60]



Ekiti State The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative (NIGAWD) conducted outreach to 3 primary schools in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti Stat. About 600 pupils and 30 teachers were in attendance.[61]


The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative – Nigeria conducted outreach interventions to three primary school in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital of Ekiti State, South West, Nigeria. The pupils were taught the importance of handwashing as a means to prevent diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and diarrhea among others. A total of 180 pupils were reached. A participatory approach was employed as well as role playing and demonstration methods.[62]

Lagos. 250 primary school students were educated in handwashing through dramas and songs. A 20-minute radio talk on handwashing was also broadcast.[63]

Lagos. GHD was observed by the Healing Heart Foundation, a non-profit organization in Lagos, Nigeria that works to improve the living standards of women and children in rural areas and urban slums. Two Nursery and Primary Schools with a combined population of over 735 students in Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos participated. The children were taught the need to practice proper handwashing before meals and after they visit the loo. A health officer from the health department of the local government helped demonstrate how to do this and they did same themselves. Soap tablets were also shared to the pupils for use at home. The demonstration was also witnessed by some members of the public. The children were excited to learn about ways they can better protect themselves from very preventable diseases.[64]



Global Handwashing Day was officially endorsed by the Ministry of Environment of Pakistan, the lead agency for the implementation of the International Year of Sanitation in Pakistan. Local coalition included participants from 25 organizations representing Government, Private, Sector, NGOs and the Academics.

The Day was celebrated on 15 October, but many activities were launched beforehand. For example, newscasters endorsed the need of washing hands before meal times were aired on the 7 pm news bulletin of the local Samaa TV (From Friday, 5th Sept to continue 15 October.) The Local coalition committed to reach more than 1 million children with handwashing activities in all four provinces of Pakistan.[65]

Swabi. In Swabi, 53 people participated in Global Handwashing Day celebrations.[66]


Events were held in Indore, Islamabad, Jacobabad,[67][68] Karachi,[69] Lahore,[70] Mardan,[71] Mirpurkhas, Rawalpindi,[72] and Shahdadkot.[73][74] Other events were held in Nowshera, Kamber Shahdadkot, Shahdadkot, and Shahpurchakar Districts.[75][76][77][78]

Papua New Guinea[edit]

2013 Walamu, Nuku. Hand washing education to the community and to Village Health Volunteers at Walamu. Also a school education session on handwashing with demonstration of a tip tap and tap bucket. There was reat attendance and participation from all involved.[79]



Lima. On Sunday October 20, the Directorate General of Health Promotion (DGPS) MoH, held a family walk for World Day Handwashing and as part of the Week Against Cancer Peru. Is expected to gather more than 5,000 people.[80]


A multi media Handwashing campaign was launched on Global Handwashing Day to raise awareness among the population. Key activities included: a press conference on September 12 to announce the local coalition with a symbolic handprints activity and handwashing with kids, held at Museo Pambata (Museum for Children). Furthermore, handwashing was promoted through a road show with different stakeholders: schools, businesses and media, prior to the official launch of Global Handwashing Day on October 15 at Makati Park in the heart of the central business district. Over 100 school children were invited to participate in the event and kick off the advocacy of making handwashing with soap an important habit. Starting October 1, there was advocacy for handwashing through press and media articles, TV interviews, banners and posters on Metro Rail Transit (MRT). Simultaneous activities were held outside Manila in other regions.[81]


Events were held in Kawit, Cavite,[82] Cebu,[83] Manila,[84] Ormoc City, Leyte,[85] and Quezon City.[86]


2013 Kindergarten students were taught handwashing in Romania.



Rulindo. Rwandan youth development and voluntary organization carried out Global Handwashing Day campaign in Rulindo districts of Rwanda. This campaign was initiated as a tool to reduce mortality rates related to diarrhea diseases by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as handwashing with soap, which according to research can reduce the rate by almost 50%. It was a campaign where participants were present and distribute education and communication materials such as posters, banners, leaflets. The selected children presented songs and poems, and finally 1100 children received soaps.[87]


The launch ceremony of Global Hand Washing Day took place in Burera District, located in the Northern Province of Rwanda. Previously, the area suffered from recurring poor hygiene related diseases such as diarrhea and cholera. The focus of the campaign was to make school children the main agents of change.

Also, a town hall meeting led by Ministry of Health, Education, Infrastructure, Commerce and the Local Government will be broadcast live on National TV and Radio on October 11, 2008. This three hour live program will attract the larger public participation to phone in and contribute with ideas and ask questions. Directors from the ministries and other key partners will be in the conference hall to provide answers. The event will be covered by the national and international media.[88]




The USAID/PEPAM project worked with local communities, schools and local government officials in Kolda, Sédhiou, Ziguinchor (at the CLTS villages) and in Tambacounda (at a high school in an urban neighborhood of the city of Tambacounda) to plan and implement a daylong event. This year the focus and theme was on children and promoting good hand washing practices. The project staff collaborated with Peace Corps Volunteers to design a day of games, songs, competitions and theatrical skits, all providing key hygiene promotion practices, health benefits, and the incredible benefits of proper hand washing practices with soap. Local Government officials, the technical services units, rural councils, school teachers participated in these events in order to serve as role models, pass on best practices messages, and to advocate and lobby for changing local community practices on hand washing with soap. This short five minute video of some of the hand washing events has been produced by the project staff and Peace Corps Volunteers.[90]

Sierra Leone[edit]

Global Handwashing Day launched on October 15 in Freetown and the district headquarters towns - invitation to children from schools and high level political representatives. The event included float parades by school children and NGO partners, drama skits and launch ceremonies culminating in a mass handwashing with soap event.

About 200,000 children and 500 mothers were reached throughout the country with the celebrations which generated a buzz around handwashing with soap and serve as the catalyst for initiating a nationwide handwashing with soap campaign in Sierra Leone. Holistic communication elements included: Posters, stickers and T-shirts with handwashing with soap messages.[91]



On Global Handwashing Day, IOM Somalia’s Migration Health Division (MHD) launched a series of mass hygiene promotion campaigns in IDP settlements in all three regions of Somalia.

Events were held in Burao,[92] Garowe,[93] Hargeisa,[94] and Mogadishu.[95][96]

South Sudan[edit]

The Government, NGOs, and UNICEF organized GHD events in South Sudan.[97]

Bentiu. UNICEF and the State Ministry of Education and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources organized GHD Activities in Marial Primary School in Guit County.[98]

Sri Lanka[edit]

Health Education Bureau organized a ‘train the trainer’ program for Food and Drug Inspectors, Health Education officers and Senior PHIs.

On 15 October, 1,500 PHI visited 1,500 schools and reached 1 million school children and demonstrated how handwashing should be done. This activity helped to disseminate the message to a record number of school children. A poster and a flip chart were developed to demonstrate 9 steps of handwashing, based on surgical technique. These visual guides were displayed in places like hospitals, plantation sector clinics child development centers and health clinics. The promotional activities continued in the following week, during Sri Lanka’s Food Safety week from 20–26 October. TV advertorials as well as print advertorials also took place. A press conference was carried out to talk about the importance of handwashing and highlight the GHD activities.[99]


More than 335 schools and communities across the country have scaled up their efforts in increasing knowledge on the importance of hand washing with soap with the theme: Clean hands, long life.[100]



PLAN Sudan educated children on the importance of handwashing with soap for GHD 2012.[101]

Global Handwashing Day was celebrated in White Nile State through lectures in health education about increasing awareness about culture of handwashing with soap – pollution – how to transfer germs and sanitation in general in schools and pre-schools. Contests existed between students in case of correct answers and distributed soap or balls as a prize.

In Aboramad it was the biggest celebration in the community through theater. The presentation included jokes and drama about handwashing with soap and environmental sanitation in general. Also there was a theatrical presentation of volunteers. At two water purification units, health education lectures for the beneficiaries of the water and also leaflets were distributed to promote the culture of hand washing with soap. Banners were hung in streets of villages and Kosti as well as at the water purification unit and the water tractors. And of course there was a lot of hand washing![102]

Geneina. This event was conducted in the CRS Geneina office and was attended by about 25 members of staff. The highlights of the events were presentations by WASH staff on hygiene messages focusing on handwashing with soap and IEC materials with catchphrase “Your health is in your hands” were displayed at specific locations within the premises including hand washing points. Members of staff who attended the event were addressed by the Health & Nutrition PO and WASH PM.

Malakal. Hygiene awareness messages were taken to the streets and markets of Malakal town, Malakal teaching hospitals, state ministry offices, primary schools, through parade and marching by school children from 4 schools, cultural groups, community leaders, NGOs accompanied by Police Brass Band playing hygiene message songs. Handwashing demonstrations were given by the Makal County Commissioner and other political and government ministry staff at a public gathering during the parade.

CARE International organised handwashing demonstrations and speeches by head teachers and to girls in Adong Primary School in Adong Payam in Upper Nile State.

In Doro, Jammam, Genderassa and Yusif Batil refugee camps UNICEF and UNHCR organised with partners (Relief IntI, ARC, Solidarites, Oxfam GB, Mediar, ACTED, GOAL, Save the Children and IOM) the following events - Street dancing and singing; bringing placards or banners with written handwashing messages - Puppet show about GHD and handwashing benefits - Children and community singing on handwashing - Handwashing demonstration - School drama, singing, poetry, and poster competitions - Competitions among cluster camps including singing, dancing, handwashing relay, and quiz show[103]


The Global Handwashing Day was launched by the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) to draw attention to the benefits of handwashing while highlighting the state of handwashing in various countries around the world. Communities appreciated the simple, yet life-saving advice that can have a lasting, positive effect on the health of their children. “After trainings on personal hygiene our behavior has changed” said one of the participants afterward. “We learned the five rules of handwashing. We are washing our hands with soap and will ask others in our community to do the same.”

PHASE II launched its activities to improve the health and nutrition of primary school children. As a result, hundreds of secondary school students have been trained to pass on information to primary school children. USAID provides support to 80 schools with an enrollment of approximately 40,300 schoolchildren in the Khatlon region through its PHASE II program activities.[104]



At Qaru Lambo Primary School, students participated in handwashing demonstrations. At the school, 630 pupils, 11 teachers, and 200 community members washed their hands to reaffirm their commitment to their well-being. CRS also distributed posters to its three offices in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Mwanza and to its local implementing partners Catholic Diocese of Mbulu and Archdiocese of Arusha. A local radio station broadcast handwashing messages to people living in Karatu, Mbulu, Babati, and Hanag districts.

Timor Leste[edit]

Timor Leste celebrated Global Handwashing Day starting with a launching event in one of the primary schools in Dili on the 10th of October. Other activities were held in the following days, such as: panel discussion on handwashing in National TV, Community Radio talk program and GHD were celebrated in all districts through primary schools and include competitions, demonstrations, songs, materials etc.

Additionally promotional activities were undertaken at transition shelters and IDP camps.[105]


Video messages demonstrating how to wash were sent on Timor Leste National Television.[106]


PLAN Togo constructed handwashing stations at communities and schools to celebrate GHD 2012.[107]


The Service, Hygiene and Environmental Protection Association of Kairouan celebrated GHD 2012 by organizing an open day in École Avicenne Kairouan. Children were taught how, why and when they should wash their hands by presenting many activities like movies, drawing activities, competition, a presentation, and song.[108][109][110]



Diyarbakir. At Bahçeşehir Koleji Kintergarten school the teachers decorated the school with drops of water and soap before the children arrived for the day. To make sure the children were aware of the importance of washing their hands during the day, the nurse came to talk to the children and together they discovered why washing your hands is so important and the children watched an informational cartoon (Pediyatri Okulu) about hand washing.

Ankara. In the week running up to Global Handwashing Day, the British Embassy School nurse carried out fun handwashing games and experiments with almost all the students in the school. Experiments included glitter on the hands and balloons filled with confetti demonstrated the invisible spread of germs and stressed the importance of handwashing. On Global Handwashing Day itself, the nurse presented a fun powerpoint to commemorate this important event at a school assembly. At the end of assembly, every child was given a bar of soap (courtesy of Colgate-Palmolive). Children were shown and encouraged to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, or the equivalent of singing the 'happy birthday' song. These activities will continue throughout the year.[111]

United Arab Emirates[edit]


Abu Dhabi. On 15 October 2012, Hilton Abu Dhabi joined and celebrated for the Global Handwashing Day hosting an educational event with several unique and fun activities. More than 200 team members took part in the Global Hand Washing Day from different departments such as housekeeping, F&B, engineering, laundry, kitchen, stewarding, front office, human resources, sports & leisure, security and accounts. The event included educational videos regarding how to wash our hands properly and different presentations and discussions about the importance of washing hands in our daily life & workplace (including after using the toilet, before eating/handling food, after sneezing/coughing, dealing with sick people etc.)[112]

United States[edit]


Boulder, Colorado. Around 600 people of all ages celebrated Global Handwashing Day in Boulder, CO this year! Whittier International Elementary and the Family Learning Center learned about the 8 steps of hand washing, especially during Flu Session, with fun activities and art projects. Casey Middle School watched media clips about the work young adults in Tanzania are doing to address hygiene education. Special thanks to the St. Julien Hotel for donating soap and the Alfalfa's Market for hosting an awareness booth outside their store.

Las Vegas, Nevada. Desert Rose Adult High School located in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA has what is called "The Hope Chest," where high school students in under served areas can go to obtain clothing, food, hygiene items, and resources to further their education as well as work with their budget. Hygiene care is essential in areas that are under served in the community, and Clean the World was able to provide 200 hygiene kits to The Hope Chest, as well as a bag of bar soap to distribute to students on healthy hygiene care practices, as well as lowering the statistics of hygiene related illnesses. AmeriCorps Nevada State Members manage The Hope Chest in means to provide better services to local high school students continuing their education. Over 200 students are serviced by The Hope Chest, and Clean the World thanks Desert Rose Adult High School for partnering with us for Global Handwashing Day 2013 on making hand washing awareness possible in this community![113]

Washington, D.C. Ace Clean, a superhero that fights germs, and Henry the Hand teamed up to tackle D.C. germs! Ace Clean and Henry targeted visitors in Farragut Square and the White House, asking them if they wash their hands before lunch. Those that do were able to take a picture with Ace Clean and Henry the Hand with a "Clean Hands" sign. However, those that don't had to hold up a "Gross, I forgot to wash my hands" sign. Ace Clean and Henry were able to talk with both adults and children about the importance of washing their hands.[114]


Auburn, Alabama. A community service project was designed and delivered by a nurse practitioner student from Auburn University / Auburn University Montgomery tying International Infection Control Month (October) to Global Handwashing Day (October 15) and linking to the need to immunize against the influenza virus. The 3 and 4 year olds at the Cornerstone United Methodist Foundation Program were the targeted population. A multimedia program based around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (US) Scrub Club program lead the children through learning what germs were, how they are transmitted, how to limit the transfer of microorganisms, and proper hand washing process. Make-believe "germs" were also applied strategically in areas the children may typically touch. A black light was used to show how these fake "germs" could still be on their hands if they didn't wash their hands properly : water, soap, rub, scrub, rinse, and dry for at least 20 seconds (or singing "Happy Birthday" twice). The children return demonstration how to wash their hands. A song about hand washing was taught to the children that followed the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus" (Hand Washing Song: The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud. Sud, sud, sud. Sud, sud, sud. The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud. And the germs go down the drain.) Each child received a packet with 4 crayons, several coloring pages re-enforcing germs and hand washing, a small "toy germ" and information to their parents to review at home. This re-enforces the lessons learned and allow information to be shared with the parents and other children in the households. Ten days later, the Nurse Practitioner student returned to the preschool and played a game with the 3 and 4 year old to evaluate their retention of the hand washing lesson.

Atlanta, Georgia. Over 74,000 students in Atlanta, Georgia celebrated GHD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided educators with videos, podcasts, and fact sheets to help teach kids the importance of handwashing in keeping themselves and others healthy. Teachers also received an interactive presentation on handwashing around the world to teach students about handwashing in places where it is challenging and people often get sick. Classrooms received bars of soap, donated by the Global Soap Project of Norcross, Georgia for handwashing demonstrations and practice. Representatives of CDC and the Global Soap Project participated in handwashing activities in a number of classrooms.

Elkins, West Virginia. Health Science students at Randolph Technical Center taught other students about the importance of handwashing through a video presentation and practice. Members of the Health Occuaptions Students of America hung up signs in the school bathrooms to promote handwashing.[115]

Laguna Beach, California. Project CREED read their globally relevant children’s book about hand hygiene to Orange County children at the Laguna Beach Public Library.[116]

Las Vegas, Nevada. In celebration of Global Handwashing Day, AmeriCorps Nevada State Members partnered with United Way of Southern Nevada and created 576 hygiene kits for donation to the Teacher EXCHANGE of the Clark Country School District in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Director of Teacher EXCHANGE, Tim McCubbin, generously donated the 576 hygiene kits to Clark County School District schools. These hygiene kits contained hotel amenities collected by the Clean the World Foundation. Each hygiene kit featured shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, a bar of soap, and an inspirational note written by AmeriCorps Nevada State Members. The creation of these hygiene kits were made on site at the Clean the World Recycling Operations Center (ROC) in Las Vegas. Clean the World sought Global Hand Washing Day as an imperative event to further the mission of reducing the waste created by discarded soap and shampoo products, and prevent the millions of deaths caused by hygiene-related illnesses every year.

Orlando, Florida. At the Clean the World Foundation, to celebrate Global Handwashing Day, 115 volunteers packed 7,346 hygiene kits and recycled 3400 bars of soap. The hygiene kits contains, soap, shampoo, body wash, lotion and conditioners. The hygiene kits will be distributed to children and families in need.[117]

Prince George’s County, Maryland. U.S. Public Health Service Officer, Lt. Monique Bailey, demonstrated proper handwashing technique in a presentation to more than 150 men and women at a feed-the-homeless lunch event held at the Community Place Café in Hyattsville yesterday. Four Prince George’s County community organizations partnered with the U.S. Public Health Service to commemorate the fifth annual Global Handwashing Day.

Rockville, Maryland. On GHD 2012, students from the University of Maryland Shady Grove Campus presented handwashing facts in the form of a trivia and slide show to assess and inform fellow students on the importance of handwashing. Students participated in the event by answering trivia questions and washing their hands at the hand washing station while learning the proper method to do so, and were given treats for their participation.[118]

United Kingdom[edit]

Global Handwashing Day partners in the UK produced a range of activities focused on raising public awareness and engaging school-aged children. The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine released results of a study of contamination levels on commuters’ hands in five UK cities. The Health Protection Agency operated interactive handwashing promotion events in underprivileged areas of London. A poster competition gave children ages 6 – 11 the opportunity to think creatively about handwashing promotion for a unique prize trip to India to visit groundbreaking handwashing promotion programs. Activities with policymakers included a media event with several Members of Parliament at the Houses of Parliament, and an Early Day Motion for the Government to support hygiene promotion.[119]


Blackpool. The children at the Cherwell Centre, Grange Park Blackpool celebrated Global Handwashing Day by taking part in e-bug's training on the significance of good hand hygiene in keeping us well. The training materials used for the handwashing event were developed by the Health Protection Agency and were used by hundreds of children around the UK in the Guinness Book of Records Hand Hygiene challenge. It is always a pleasure to join Maureen to help promote this important skill, which is very easy to learn. The children sang happy birthday twice, which is a good guide way to time how long it takes to wash hands properly, whilst Maria Cann demonstrated the 6 steps of hand washing. Derek Butler led the lesson on good respiratory hygiene showing what happens when we sneeze and how important it is to use a tissue and wash our hands. With the start of the flu season this was a timely reminder to learn about respiratory hygiene, which helps with staying healthy and cutting absenteeism from illnesses such as colds, viral infections and tummy bugs.[120]



Bukwo District. To raise awareness, a health parade was organized by the head teacher. Issues concerning hand washing such as answers to why, when and where we wash hands were shared with the pupils.[121]



Zambia celebrated its Sanitation Week in the week of 15 October 2008, as announced by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. 13 television programs broadcast discussions on sanitation and hygiene issues. In the capital city, Lusaka, local authorities launched a campaign for hygiene promotion in public places - especially restaurants - to help curb cholera outbreaks. Handwashing practices in food preparation premises topped the agenda in this campaign.[122]


Samfya. Ninge zone, 50 km south of Samfya District in northern Zambia celebrated GHD with an event hosted by WaterAid, DAPP and Samfya District Council. The event’s theme was ‘Clean hands, Save lives.’ Dignitaries included the District Commissioner (Mr. Royd Chakaba), the District Education Officer, and the Area Councilor. Other senior government officials who attended came from the departments of health, community development and information. The local chief Chitembo was also in attendance.[123]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ WHO Global Handwashing Day
  2. ^ Curtis, Val; Cairncross, Sandy (May 2003). "Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: a systematic review". The Lancet Infectious Diseases 3 (5): 275–281. doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(03)00606-6. 
  3. ^ The State of the World’s Children 2008. Child Survival. UNICEF
  4. ^ Official site for Global Handwashing Day
  5. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Afghanistan
  6. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Cambodia
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  8. ^ Global Handwashing Day: China
  9. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Egypt
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  11. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Ethiopia
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  99. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Sri Lanka
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  104. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Tajkistan
  105. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Timor Leste
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  119. ^ Global Handwashing Day: UK
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  122. ^ Global Handwashing Day: Zambia
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External links[edit]