Diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children under five years old. Simply washing hands with soap could reduce the number of diarrhoea cases by up to 47%, but many people are not aware of the link between hygiene and health.

Global Handwashing Day takes place every year on 15 October, and 2016 saw countries all over the world marking the day with their own activities and celebrations.

Here in the UK we may think we know how to wash our hands properly, but our survey shows we're not exactly hygiene heroes, and every year poor handwashing habits lead to flu, winter sniffles and stomach bugs.

That's why this year Scouts have been using Global Handwashing Day as an opportunity to help teach the country a thing or two about good hygiene.

Camberwell Scouts show their blue hands. Scouts in Camberwell show how easy it is to spread germs with the "blue hand game".

In one activity, Scouts took part in the “blue hand game”, whereby one child covers their hands in blue powder paint before playing catch with a group. At the end of the game, everyone holds up their hands to see how many are blue – demonstrating how easily germs are spread.

Helena Holt with blue hands.Helena, 9, has some great advice about the correct way to wash your hands: "It takes about 20 seconds to do it properly, or the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. It's really important to wash your hands properly because you might spread the germs to other people and they could get ill."

Tapping into hygiene

Handwashing plays a key role in preventing infection and disease, which is why we're working with communities all over the world to install and encourage good hygiene practices.

Jamuna received a programme mirror after attending a hygiene session Dumkibaas Healthpost, Nepal.


Innovative hygiene games and education sessions are helping Jamuna and other mums protect their children from preventable diseases.

A new approach >

Pheurn Sophea, 24 years old, housewife training her daughter how to use LaBobo for handwashing.


LaBobo is a fun, transportable handwashing device designed for children, and is the focus of a Dragons’ Den-style challenge we’ve set UK businesses.

The challenge >

Children demonstrate how to use a tippy tap at Masindra primary school in Antananarivo, Madagascar.


Tippy Taps are an ideal solution for schools like Masindray Primary School in Madagascar, that need to conserve water but also improve hygiene practices.

How to build a tippy tap >