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Madagascar Celebrates Global Handwashing Day on Oct. 15

Friday, October 15, 2010

Global Handwashing Day, sponsored by the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW), is celebrated worldwide on October 15. The celebration targets school children and their families with fun festival-like events and brings media attention. Handwashing with soap is a "do it yourself vaccine" that can reduce key childhood diseases, such as diarrhea, by almost half.

Malagasy children use the "Tippy Tap"C-Change/Hygiene Improvement Project (HIP) in Madagascar was the key organizer for this year's festivities in the capital city of Antananarivo. The effort included USAID's "WASH" partners and was held in Ambanitsena, a community where C-Change/HIP has actively been bringing the message and the materials for local inhabitants to practice improved hygiene. Walls in the community were painted with Malagasy pictures that promote the key hygiene practices and the global handwashing logo.

Improved hygiene practices include handwashing, using latrines, and drinking treated and safely stored water. Many Tippy Tap stands were set up to allow for a "group handwash" by the schoolchildren celebrating together.  A Tippy Tap is a low cost, water-saving handwashing device made from widely-available plastic water bottles with holes punched into the caps, and strung up on a wooden stand where it can be made to tip and pour just enough water out to wash hands. Children paraded in orange, blue, and green (the global handwashing colors). USAID, US Embassy dignitaries, and local Malagasy dignitaries joined the celebration.

For more information, see Global Handwashing Day.

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