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Why a Global Day for 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. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote.

The challenge is to transform handwashing with soap from an abstract good idea into an automatic behavior performed in homes, schools, and communities worldwide. 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.

The driving theme for Global Handwashing Day is children and schools, and the main objectives of this global celebration are:

• Foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap.

• Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country.

• Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

Initiated in 2008 by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies and individuals around the globe.

Initiated by

AED– Academy for Educational Development
CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Colgate-Palmolive
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Procter and Gamble

UNICEF
Unilever
World Bank – WSP (Water & Sanitation Program)
USAID– HIP

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