Global Handwashing Day is an advocacy campaign set to motivate and mobilise people around the world to improve their handwashing and personal hygiene habits by washing their hands with soap throughout critical moments of the day. It takes place on October 15 annually and is dedicated to raising awareness of disease prevention through washing your hands with soap.
The campaign was initiated to lower childhood mortality rates by introducing simple behavioural changes in a child’s day-to-day life. It is approximated that the mortality rate for children can decrease from anywhere between 25% and 50% if children would wash their hands regularly with soap. Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) in 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. Each year, over 200 million people celebrate Global Handwashing Day.
The first ever Global Handwashing Day was held in October 15, 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since 2008, national and community leaders have used this campaign as a means to promote personal hygiene, to build usable sinks and taps with clean water, and to demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands. The campaign is now endorsed by a wide array of governments, global institutions, civil society organisations, NGO’s and non-profits, and even private companies and individuals.
In Pakistan, the childhood mortality rate stands at 40% (one of the highest mortality rates in the world) and every year and approximate 53,000 children die due to preventable diseases like diarrhoea, pneumonia, and acute respiratory infections. This year, the Global Handwashing Day campaign will be initiated by Dettol and sponsored by Reckitt Benckiser. Through their “Letter for Life” initiative, Dettol intends to raise hygiene awareness by handing out envelopes with a bar of soap in them to children from around the country. Around one hundred schools from urban areas will be participating in this event to hand out the letters to students from rural schools.
You can also send a bar of soap in a letter to countless children across Pakistan to help them lead healthier lives. You can visit givelifeahand.com to learn the steps of making the soap-letter and sending it to those who need it most. A little less than half of all households in Pakistan are without a proper handwashing facility. The Letters for Life initiative would also hope to help build more handwashing facilities for public and private access throughout the country.
The official spokespeople for the Dettol brand in this campaign are Shaniera Akram and Adnan Siddiqui. Shaniera is also one of the key ambassadors for Reckitt Benckiser’s national campaign, “Hoga Saaf Pakistan.”