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Global Hand Washing Day

In 2008, the International Year of Sanitation, October 15th was decided to be the Global Hand Washing Day to promote the correct method of washing hands. Since then, activities related to this day have taken place in Afghanistan, as well as in other countries, every year.

Many children die from diarrhea worldwide. UNICEF has reported that 42% of such diarrhea cases can be prevented by washing hands, so the habit of hand washing can help save lives of many people.

In Japan, we take washing hands for granted, and we have access to safe water everywhere. In other countries, however, there are many places where water supply itself is unavailable, or people are not familiar with sanitary habits. Such situations are causes of diarrhea. In Parwan Province, the Afghan region where JEN operates, there is very little access to safe and clean water, and correct sanitary habits have not taken root in the society. As a result, diarrhea is one of the most widespread diseases among children.

On October 15th 2012, JEN collaborated with the Department of Education, schools and the local community in Parwan Province, and held an event to promote sanitation. It took place at five schools (Zarbia High School, Abozar Ghafari High School, Jabul Siraj Girls High School, Gul Bahar No.1 Girls High School and Haji Khairudin Girls Middle School) in Siraj District, JEN’s project site.

(At  Jabul Siraj Girls High School)

(At Zarbia High School)

The event was held from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and participants were consisted of the head and representative staff members from the Department of Education, community leaders, school teachers and students. The aim of the event was to have the students enjoy learning sanitary facts, as well as the importance of putting them into practice, so it included activities such as songs, skits, role-plays, quizzes, and a contest featuring pictures of hand washing, which the students drew as part of their summer homework.

The program started by reciting phrases from the Koran, followed by a headmaster’s speech on the importance of sanitary habits. Students then sang a song which carries a message promoting sanitary education, written and composed by JEN staff and the schools.

(Washing hands alongside the chorus)

After the chorus, the head of the Department of Education talked about the importance of washing hands with soap, as well as the history of Global Hand Washing day. In promoting sanitary habits, students played skits prepared themselves, and did role-plays. The quiz session was full of excitement; the students had much fun competing for correct answers.

A picture contest featuring the students’ summer homework also took place, and prizes were given to the winners.

(Pictures in the contest)

At this Global Hand Washing Day event, with the students’ active participation and enjoyable learning methods, we successfully raised the their awareness to the importance of sanitation.

JEN will utilize the feedback and lessons of this first event, and aims to create an even better Global Hand Washing day event next year, so that children can be more familiar with sanitation facts, keep putting sanitary habits into practice, and improve their health conditions.

November 1, 2012 in Afghanistan |