Making good hygiene normal

Would you be able to stay clean and healthy if you didn’t have clean water and a decent toilet? What if no-one had explained to you the importance of washing your hands with soap after going to the toilet and before eating? When water is scarce, it has to be saved for cooking and drinking – even if it’s dirty – and using it to wash clothes or clean dishes simply isn't an option.

Around the world, poor hygiene is making children sick, and keeping them out of school. It is putting mothers and babies at risk in hospitals. And it is stopping young women staying safe and well on their period. This shouldn’t be normal.

Your support changes lives with clean water, decent toilets and… yes, good hygiene.

Take handwashing, for example. From home-cooked meals to hospital visits, the simple act of washing your hands with soap can help keep you healthy and stop the spread of diseases.

In fact, washing our hands with soap can cut cases of diarrhoea almost in half, saving hundreds of lives every single day. And it can have a positive effect on children’s education…

What we do

We know through experience that there's no one-size-fits-all approach, and simply explaining the importance of good hygiene isn't enough to make lasting change happen. That's why we listen to people to understand what really drives them to take up new hygiene habits. 

Spreading the word

"Menstruation is good. And it is normal."
Dennis, 14, Uganda
Dennis, 14, WASH Club member (front R) sitting in a class at St Mary's School, Uganda. WaterAid/Eliza Powell

Attitudes towards hygiene and periods are changing, thanks in part to funding water, sanitation and hygiene clubs like the one at St Mary’s School in Uganda.

Girls and boys learn practical skills – such as how to make reusable sanitary towels – as well as basic good hygiene behaviour like handwashing. They then go out into the community and teach their friends and family what they have learnt, helping to change attitudes and establish good hygiene for generations to come.

Thank you, Dr Semmelweis

160 years ago, women were terrified of giving birth at Vienna’s General Hospital – until one man looked into the power of handwashing. Tragically, his life-saving findings proved to be ahead of their time.

Hungarian doctor, Ignaz Semmelweis in 1858. Ignaz Semmelweis

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