On Saturday October 14th, 2017 in the province of Uige, local communities of four municipalities celebrated the 10th World Handwashing Day, as facilitated by MENTOR and in collaboration with The End Fund and the Provincial Directorates of Education and Health (along with other government offices). Schools were the primary focus, with UNICEF declaring children to be the target of this year’s campaign, and the theme of “Our Hands, Our Future” linking WASH programmes and individual health to collective futures. The event’s goal was raising awareness among the communities to make handwashing a regular habit at key times in their daily schedule, and national media were invited to cover the activities which included speeches and ceremony, theatre and dance, games, contests, and awards.
Each year, 1.7 million children die from diarrhea and pneumonia, and whilst the seemingly simple action of washing your hands can go a long way to preventing the related diseases, problems raising awareness and building the required infrastructure/facilities leave many communities around the world lagging behind. Events such as this can help deliver key health messages to the local community through targeted and culturally shaped engagements.