Global Handwashing Day: the power is in your hands

Global Handwashing Day promotes proper handwashing and hygiene as a way to prevent diseases and illness.

15 Oct 2013

Handwashing may seem like second nature to many of us, but in the world's poorest communities not washing your hands can be deadly. An estimated 600,000 children's lives could be saved every year if all kids were able to wash their hands with soap and water after going to the toilet.

It could cut cases of diarrhoea by 48% and pneumonia by 23%, as well as reducing the risk of water-borne diseases and parasites, and having benefits for people living with HIV/AIDs. Handwashing is so beneficial that the World Bank has said that handwashing with soap is the single most cost-effective health intervention.

A woman talking into a microphone and two men standing close by, one holding a bucketHow we're spreading the word

Last year, nearly two million people were involved in our hygiene promotion activities, which included public health awareness events, health clubs for children and adults, community committees and volunteer facilitated sessions.

This year, WaterAid once again is celebrating the amazing power of handwashing.

We'll be taking part in activities across the world to commemorate Global Handwashing Day.

Addressing a large crowd of people from the back of a van in MalawiIn Malawi, we're going on a week-long roadshow to promote handwashing. From Lilongwe to small towns, our team is hitting the road to talk about handwashing.

In Mtandire, a huge crowd gathered to hear our team talk.

So far, there's been dancing, drama, quizzes and giveaways, all with the aim of spreading the message: washing hands saves lives!

Around the world, we will be involved in many more activities this week, to show how simple changes can transform lives.