State wide campaigns by WaterAid India to spread hygiene messages this Global Handwashing Day

Delhi, October 15: For this Global Handwashing Day 2015 (Oct 15), WaterAid India undertook a range of activities across India to increase awareness about the importance of good hygiene.

In Delhi, WaterAid India in partnership with the Society for All Round Development (SARD) organized a hygiene quiz to reinforce the importance of hygiene within school children and to recognize them as school health ambassadors and nurture them as change agents between schools and communities.

The quiz was conducted in three different stages – at the school level, zonal level and the state level. On October 8, the quiz was conducted at the school level in 589 schools of Najafgarh Zone, West Zone, Central Zone and South Zone within the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) jurisdiction reaching out to over 1,00,000 children in these schools and neighboring communities. SDMC helped in ensuring that the hygiene quiz was properly conducted in all schools. It was a written quiz. Based on the quiz results, the top 3 winners from each school were awarded.

In the second stage, a zonal level quiz was conducted on October 13, where the first position winners from each school were invited to compete at the zonal level and the top 3 winners from each of the four zones were awarded.

Today, on the occasion of Global Handwashing Day, the final state level live quiz was conducted at the Municipal Corporation Development Civic Centre and the top 3 schools were awarded.

Speaking at the event South Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Subhash Arya said,

“The essence of handwashing needs to be established. Government is doing its best to provide resources to the schools but ingraining healthy habits in their behavior is the responsibility of the teachers. Once the habit is established, we will give rise to a healthy India. I also request the civil society and corporates to come together and help the government in providing basic amenities like soap to the schools and to the communities who cannot afford it.”

Other key dignitaries present at the event include M K Ghai, Former Additional Director – Education and Yashpal Arya, Chairman- Education Committee.

Children between 6-12 years of age were involved in this activity to increase their knowledge and awareness about good hygiene. Good hygiene behaviours such as handwashing with soap are the cheapest and most effective means available to reduce diarrheal diseases, especially among children.

Reckitt Benckiser supported the initiative with a donation of 10,000 Dettol soaps for use by children in SDMC schools.

In addition, ‘The Great Hygiene Quiz’ was conducted by WaterAid India on social media to engage online audiences and inculcate in them the importance of good hygiene.

In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, WaterAid India unveiled a week long hygiene and sanitation campaign across the two states targeting different audiences with radio jingles, hygiene kiosks and awareness events to highlight the link between good hygiene and good health.

“The dream of a Swachh Bharat cannot be realized simply by the construction of toilets. There is an increasing need to highlight the need for hygiene education among children and the wider public. This can prove to be a critical step towards promoting long-term behavior change by inculcating the healthy habit of handwashing. Handwashing with soap is one of the most cost effective ways to prevent communicable diseases and lead a healthy life. There is an urgent need for more such hygiene awareness campaigns all across the country”, said Avinash Kumar, Director Programmes & Policy at WaterAid India.

WaterAid India will continue to undertake and support such awareness activities to ensure good hygiene is given adequate prominence.

Toilet Facts

44 per cent of the total population in India still defecate in the open.

Open defecation causes chronic diarrhoea that leads to stunting.