New Delhi: The Guinness Book of World Records has officially declared setting of a new world record for most people washing their hands in multiple locations for an event organised by the Department of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh (India) to promote the importance of hygiene among children. The technical support provided for this event was made possible through the DFID supported Madhya Pradesh Health Sector Reform Programme in which WaterAid India is a partner.
As per the Guinness declaration, 1,276,425 children washed their hands at over 13,196 locations across the 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh on the occasion of Global Handwashing Day (October 15, 2014).
The event was conceptualised as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) where more than 20 lakh children were expected to simultaneously wash their hands from 20,000 schools across Madhya Pradesh.
Mr Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, had launched the hand washing activities last year as the Chief Guest at a special function in the Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Habibia, Bhopal.
“Besides the world record, the main outcome of this event is that more than 9 million children in Madhya Pradesh schools have learnt the correct way of hand washing, which will have a long lasting impact,” said Dr Aruna Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh.
Guinness authorities will soon release the certificate for the record to the Madhya Pradesh government.
“I would like to congratulate the Madhya Pradesh State Government for achieving success in the massive Global Handwashing Day world record attempt. The world record will help create awareness around the issue of hygiene education and will prove to be an example for other states in the country. Over 500,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Hygienic practices such as washing hands with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by 50%.
Every state should come up with innovative ways to inculcate hand washing in children as a good habit to prevent communicable diseases so that they in turn can influence their family and friends. Hygiene education is the critical lever to push behaviour change on sanitation. We are happy to have been a part of this great awareness initiative,” said Neeraj Jain, Chief Executive, WaterAid India.
To ensure that the Guinness World Records authorities considered the record, the entire attempt was organised by following the established guidelines of Guinness. For this, more than 20,000 witnesses and an equal number of videographers helped with the process. In addition, more than 40,000 teachers and volunteers helped in organising the school children and in ensuring that the complicated attempt went off smoothly and simultaneously in multiple locations across the state.