About Global Handwashing Day
Global Hand washing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
Celebrated annually on October 15, Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.
Global Handwashing Day is designed to:
- Foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap
- Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world
- Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap
The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since 2008, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing, build sinks and tippy taps, and demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands. Each year, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries around the world. Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, and individuals.
The 2017 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Our hands, our future!” This theme reminds us that handwashing protects our own health, but also allows us to build our own futures, as well as those of our communities, and the world. Because handwashing is an affordable, effective way to achieve these goals, by having the power to improve access to education for children, protect the health of patients and communities, and reduce inequities. Promoting the benefits and practice of handwashing with soap, as well as fostering access to and improving hygiene facilities, will help us work towards a future where that potential is realized.
No matter what your role, you can celebrate Global Handwashing Day. This website is the central repository for all the tools necessary to make your event a success!
Handwashing with soap is an easy, effective, and affordable do-it-yourself protection that prevents infections and saves lives.
Handwashing with Soap is Easy
Everyone can protect themselves, their families, and their communities through handwashing with soap. It requires few resources—just soap and a small amount of water—yet the benefits are huge.
Handwashing with Soap is Effective
When handwashing with soap is practiced regularly at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food, it can dramatically reduce the risk of diarrhea and pneumonia, which can cause serious illness and death. Handwashing with soap also helps prevent the spread of other infections such as influenza and Ebola.
Handwashing with Soap is Affordable
Cost is not the principal barrier to handwashing with soap. Almost everyone in the world can afford multipurpose bar soap, or detergent to make soapy water, though recent surveys have found a soap access equity gap, meaning the world’s poorest households are less likely to have access to soap. Furthermore households which do have access to soap commonly use it for laundry, dishwashing or bathing, rather than for handwashing. Investments in handwashing promotion are very cost effective, and can also maximize the health benefits of other interventions from access to clean water and sanitation infrastructure to nutrition promotion.