Clean hands save lives, say communities on Global Handwashing Day 2020

26 settlements, 8 villages, 1 institution

The Global Handwashing Day was celebrated today in Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Jodhpur and Sambalpur with great fervour by communities. Although October 15 is celebrated as the Global Handwashing Day every year, handwashing has assumed greater significance as an integral part of hand hygiene as prevention against COVID-19. This year, this is being observed together with White Cane Day for visually impaired persons, International Day of Rural Women, and Women Farmers’ Day.

Activities included taking a pledge on changing behaviours around handwashing, learning and teaching the right technique and demonstrations as well as discussion on advancing and improving the overall water and sanitation situation.In Delhi, Jaipur, a tracking sheet, module on the nine techniques of handwashing, awareness on menstrual hygiene, domestic violence was disseminated in the community. Handwashing demonstrations, messaging on kites, poster-making with diverse user groups were also done.

Across cities, communities which the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) works with have taken the pandemic head-on. They have trained fellow members in the right handwashing technique (for 20 seconds with soap and water), developed posters and wall messages, motivated peers to spread the message, and even set up foot-operated, affordable, locally crafted handwash stations. Women SHGs are producing handwash and liquid soaps, and awareness activities are being undertaken by community management committees (CMCs), Single Window Forums and Help-desks which are aimed at empowering communities and supporting them in realising their entitlements and rights, thereby achieving greater self-sufficiency. These collective initiatives are part of the principle of ‘Leaving No One Behind’, and consist of an inclusive approach towards women, girls, men, the elderly, persons with disabilities and transgenders. They, along with local leaders, frontline workers pledged today, “Badlein hum apnavyavahar, sabun-pani-haathdhonakareinsweekar.” (Let us change our behaviour and accept handwashing with soap and wateramidst chanting of slogans, “haathdhulengesabun se, rog mitengejeewanke”, “dhotedhoteapnehaath, sabkolekar challenge saath”