Cleaning up on Global Handwashing Day

Boys at St. Famille School in Les Cayes, Haiti, wash their hands in a fountain donated by the Rotary Club of Les Cayes. The fountain was purchased with money donated to The Rotary Foundation Earthquake Relief Fund, which helped to rebuild classrooms following the January 2012 earthquake.
Photo Credit: Rotary International/Alyce Henson
Students at the Little Friends Kindergarten in Pilar, Argentina, show off their new hygiene kits.
Photo Credit: Rotary International/Alyce Henson
Members of the Rotary Club of Pilar Norte, Argentina, distribute soap, towels, toothpaste, and toothbrushes to students at the Little Friends Kindergarten as part of a project to promote hygiene.
Photo Credit: Rotary International/Alyce Henson
Women learn how to make soap at El Tunino School in Guatemala, part of a Rotary-supported microcredit project.
Photo Credit: Rotary International/Monika Lozinska
A teacher dispenses soap so students can properly wash their hands during a lunch break at Rancho Alegre School in Guatemala.
Photo Credit: Rotary International/Monika Lozinska
Rotary members in the Dominican Republic use posters to teach children the importance of washing their hands.
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Rotary District 4060 (Dominican Republic)

The most effective and least expensive way to reduce disease and save lives is easier than you think. Simply washing your hands with soap and water can do more to prevent diarrhea, death by malnutrition, and dehydration than any single vaccine or medical intervention, according to scientific studies.

On 15 October, Global Handwashing Day, millions of people in more than 100 countries will take part in activities promoting this practice. Rotary brings its own expertise and diverse perspectives to such efforts by providing access to clean water and sanitation.

Rotary members in Argentina and Georgia, USA, have been working together since 2009 on the Better Health Through Better Hygiene project. Clubs provide books and personal hygiene kits to kindergarten and first-grade students in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. They also supply teachers with posters and manuals to help them promote better hygiene, as well as equipping the schools with soap, hand sanitizer, and dispensers to encourage regular hand washing at school.

In the Dominican Republic, Rotary clubs launched an ambitious campaign to teach the importance of hand washing to schoolchildren. A live, one-hour program will be televised across the country on Global Handwashing Day. Public service announcements on the radio, on television, and in newspapers, funded by a Rotary Foundation grant, will also promote this health initiative.

Learn more about Rotary’s work in water and sanitation.


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