Together with clean water and safely managed sanitation, good hygiene practices can dramatically improve – and even save – people’s lives.
Why good hygiene?
Upholding personal hygiene and ensuring cleanliness in our environment is essential for a healthy life. Incorporating good hygiene behaviour is paramount. At WaterAid India, our emphasis is on educating individuals about hygiene practices, specifically focusing on hand hygiene—emphasising handwashing at crucial moments—and safe handling of food and water to prevent contamination during consumption. Additionally, we address menstrual health and hygiene management to promote the overall well-being of women and adolescents.
Defining hygiene is challenging due to its broad scope, encompassing various behaviours such as personal hygiene (handwashing, food hygiene, and menstrual hygiene) and the proper use of toilets and safe water practices. Certain groups, particularly individuals with disabilities, young girls, women, and babies, are more vulnerable to the impacts of inadequate hygiene.
At WaterAid India, we prioritise consistent nudges for key hygiene behaviour change through regular community meetings and hygiene sessions. Regular campaigns on global days act as catalysts in promoting these behaviours.
We address the issues of hand hygiene, handling of food and water, and menstrual health and hygiene management by focusing on essential components like thorough handwashing with soap for at least 30 seconds
To reinforce safe water practices and address the issue of food hygiene, we emphasise the need for efficient clean water storage to minimise contamination risks before consumption. We also promote practices such as washing utensils and vegetables before cooking thereby encouraging the community to cover items post-cooking for hygiene maintenance.
Lastly, the menstrual health and hygiene management sessions include dispelling myths and taboos related to menstruation. WaterAid India provides adolescents with comprehensive knowledge about menstrual biology as well as addresses informed product choices and menstrual waste management.
One of the key focus areas of WaterAid India's work is hand hygiene, where we advocate for the practice of thorough handwashing at critical times. By promoting this simple yet effective habit, we aim to reduce the risk of infectious diseases and contribute to overall public health. Furthermore, our efforts extend to educating communities on the safe handling of food and water. This involves imparting knowledge on proper food preparation and storage techniques, as well as emphasising the importance of accessing and consuming clean and uncontaminated water. Through these initiatives, we aim to prevent the transmission of waterborne diseases and enhance the overall health of communities.
In addition to this, we also address the crucial aspect of menstrual health and hygiene management. Our programmes focus on breaking taboos, promoting awareness, and providing access to sanitary facilities and education. By doing so, we strive to ensure the well-being and dignity of women and girls.
Whether it is after going to the toilet, before eating, or when you are preparing a meal, washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of disease. Promoting the same through our campaigns and sessions in the community, schools, anganwadis, and healthcare facilities has been our core area of work.
Ensuring food hygiene is crucial for public health, encompassing safe food handling, preparation, and consumption. It involves maintaining clean cooking environments, proper food storage to prevent contamination, and adhering to safe cooking temperatures. Comprehensive measures include preventing cross-contamination, efficient waste management, and educating individuals on safe food practices. Prioritising food hygiene significantly reduces the risk of foodborne illnesses, contributing to the overall well-being of communities.
WaterAid India focuses on informed product choices as well as proper disposal of sanitary waste materials. Our extensive programme on menstrual health and hygiene management (MHHM) in four districts (Dindori, Kanker, Gaya, and Hyderabad) across three states (Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Telangana) has helped us promote the key hygiene messages and address myths and taboos associated with menstruation. We also supported the state government of Rajasthan, Bihar and Telangana in developing guidelines on MHHM.
WaterAid India promotes behaviour change through social art wherein we try to cover various aspects of our work in hygiene management. These traditional forms of performing arts such as street plays, puppet shows, magic shows, and folklore are being used to telegraph our key hygiene messages in a language that is local and a script that is tailor-made based on the prevalent practices in the communities where we work.
The ripple effect of good hygiene
Maintaining robust personal hygiene practices and cultivating a clean environment are indispensable for fostering a healthy and thriving life. WaterAid India places a significant emphasis on instilling essential hygiene behaviours to empower individuals in safeguarding their well-being.
In essence, our holistic approach to hygiene education encompasses various themes, creating a comprehensive framework that empowers individuals and communities to adopt and sustain healthy practices in their day-to-day lives. Through ongoing education and awareness initiatives, we aim to foster lasting positive changes in behaviour that contribute to improved public health outcomes.
Explore other themes
Know our niche and themes on which WaterAid India works.
Stories of impact
How our work is changing the lives of people across India.
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