Global Handwashing Day was first organized on 15th October 2008. The aim is to promote handwashing with soap to prevent disease and save life.
The BEQUAL NGO Consortium implements handwashing activities in their targeted villages in many different rural areas in Lao PDR. They build handwashing stations in primary schools with creative constructions using recycled and inexpensive local materials. For example, in some villages, the handwashing stations were built with only bamboo and recycled water bottles; bamboo poles served as water draining pipe and hangers for the bottles and reused bottles with holes in their cap were turned into water dispensers. A very cheap, easy to build by the community and efficient handwashing station!
The handwashing stations are also specifically designed to be fit for primary school student use. The height of the children, the distance needed between students, and the necessary height between the tap and the washing basin are considered to ensure that the handwashing station is convenient for young students. This is essential if you want handwashing to become part of their daily routine.
The program also trains primary teachers and students on proper techniques of handwashing with soap using seven steps methodology. Washing hands with soap can kills germs and reduce spreading of water-related diseases such as diarrhea which is one of the main causes of student’s absenteeism in school.
Once these students are healthy, they can attend school regularly, they are strong enough to concentrate and learn; they can complete their basic education.
In addition to proper handwashing techniques with soap, the training also introduces the notion of critical time to wash hands: before eating food, after using the toilet and after taking care of a sick person.
Good handwashing will not only keep students healthy and at school but it will also benefit the whole community. Students are encouraged to be role models and spread the good handwashing practice within their family.