Have you washed your hands?

Every year on Oct 15th, the world marks Global Handwashing Day, a celebration that aims to foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap; shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country; and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

Taken from globalhandwashing.org, handwashing with soap is still the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections that take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote.

In all our projects, we have always made it a point to emphasize the importance of personal hygiene through carrying out mandatory health and hygiene awareness training for benefitting communities as part of our intervention. We find that to effect sustainable impact, it is important to address poor hygiene habits concurrently with poor water and sanitation infrastructure, and work towards changing behaviors. These are carried out in communal settings (e.g. at school assemblies, in class, community meetings etc.) and complement the improvements to water and sanitation infrastructure made.

We have also worked on national-level campaigns, like the “Stop the Diarrhoea” social marketing campaign in Cambodia and the “I love the water and sanitation for my own health and for the community” campaign in Vietnam to promote key water, sanitation and hygiene messages.

For the “Stop the Diarrhoea” social marketing campaign in 2011, a set of campaign tools (Stop the Diarrhoea : Use a Latrine, Drink Safe Water, Wash your hands with Soap) were jointly developed by Lien AID with the Ministry of Rural Development Cambodia, and other participating partners and disseminated at no-cost to all interested organisations for their use in their various water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.

The “I love the water and sanitation for my own health and for the community” campaign in Vietnam in 2010 – 2012 saw the appointment of popular Vietnamese actor/comedian Xuan Bac as Goodwill Ambassador for Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation, and as the campaign’s celebrity advocate. Through road-shows to the provinces, TV spots on national television channels VTV1 and VTV3 and a national creative contest across schools in 63 provinces in Vietnam, an estimated 1 million indirect beneficiaries were reached.

Our work is far from finished and we want you to join us in this journey to improve their world. Take a look at  What We Do for more information on our work.