About GHD

Global Handwashing Day (GHD) was created by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing in 2008 to:

• Foster and support a global culture of handwashing with soap.
• Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in every country.
• Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

Each year, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries around the world. Global Handwashing is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organisations, NGOs, private companies, and individuals.

Why Handwashing with Soap?

Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could 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. A vast change in handwashing behavior is critical to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds by 2015.

How did people around the world celebrate GHD 2012?

Global Handwashing Day 2012 is celebrated by millions of people worldwide.
  • Bhutan: 58 schools across the country celebrated GHD, with schools in urban areas raising funds for soap in rural regions.
  • Chad: The establishment of new School Hygiene Clubs, round table discussions and a huge opening concert to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of GHD.
  • China: GHD celebrations took place in schools and CATS communities, with leaders being trained on long-term HWWS promotion. Around 280 million people were reached as part of a mass media campaign.
  • Ethiopia: 30 million people were reached during a 2 month long mass media campaign which included the launch of a handwashing song album, children’s television and radio programme features and the airing of celebrity handwashing PSAs.
  • Kenya: Celebrations took place in 2,994 schools across the country with the aim of breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest number of people washing their hands at the same time.
  • Liberia: GHD text messaging and hand washing took place with soap jingles, songs and messages being aired on local radio stations nationwide.
  • Somalia: Celebrations took place in IDP camps and included HWWS demonstrations, outreach sessions, t-shirt and soap distributions. More than 1.7 million people were reached in total.
  • Syria: health and hygiene education activities were carried out in camps for internally displaced populations (IDPs), as well as in all functioning elementary schools across the country, benefitting around 100,000 children.

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