Ethiopian students joined the world in celebrating Global Handwashing Day 2017


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Ethiopian students joined the world in celebrating the Global Handwashing Day 2017 under the theme “Our hands, our future”. In 111 schools about 45,000 students, teachers, parents and government representatives participated in the event.

In Mekane Eyesus Elementary School - in Estie Woreda, one of the implementation areas of Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All programme in Ethiopia - students and teachers from four adjacent schools have gathered to celebrate the day.

Deputy Mayer of the Woreda and Zonal Health Bureau representative have opened the event. The Zone Health Bureau representative called students to make handwashing with soap properly a habit and to encourage their peers to do so.

“I did not know that I should wash my hand before eating ‘kolo’, roasted cereal. After I have got the information from the project on why we should wash our hands at critical times, I have started washing my hand not only before eating but also before preparing food and after cleaning children’s bottoms, and tending the cattle” said Tadella Fikrie, an eighth grade school girl.

Similarly, Temesgen Dessie, an eighth grade student, explained how he is going to share the information on handwashing to his family and peers. “First I will show them my dictionary, note book and soap that I was awarded after participating in the handwashing day question and answer competition. This will help me to share them the information about the handwashing at critical moments and how they should wash their hands.”

A seventh grade, Tewodros Tenaw, is planning to share the information in the Science Club. In partnership with the school mini-media he will disseminate the information on the benefits of regular handwashing with soap at critical times. “We may assume that our hands are clean and eat food. But I have learnt that we have information gap in relation to proper handwashing. At school, I will encourage Science Club members to work together with the Mini-media Club to make handwashing a habit.”

Parents have also participated in the event

Invited guests from Mekane Eyesus town administration, South Gonder zone health department and Woreda health office demonstrated proper handwashing techniques for the participants. Students also practised proper handwashing to encourage their peers to make handwashing with soap a habit.     

Ayaleneh Tadesse, head, Eastie woreda health office, in his concluding remark said, “Children need to grow healthy.  We, parents and teachers, are responsible to provide information on proper handwashing, latrine utilisation and utilisation of water supply at household level so that you grow healthy and responsible citizens”. He also added that the health office will give priority to strengthen schools to have toilet and handwashing facilities.   

Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene (SSH4A) Results Programme – Estie has distributed 14,000 leaflets, 2700 soap bars, two billboards, 1400 T-shirts, 1400 caps, 45 banners and 284 dictionaries and 450 Jerry cans with faucet across 172 kebeles in Wahimra zone and Estie woreda to support the successful celebration of Global Handwashing Day 2017.

The SSH4A programme is implemented in eight countries across Africa and Asia. The SSH4A approach in Ethiopia is implemented in six woredas of Waghimra zone and Este woreda of South Gondar zone, Amhara region. In Este Woreda, it is implemented from January 2017 to March 2020 as an extension of the existing SSH4A Waghimra project. Este woreda has 248,175 people of which more than 70% practice open defecation.

The programme, in these woredas, is promoting handwashing with soap at five critical times, household water treatment and storage, and proper utilisation and maintenance of toilets.

Expert

Zewdu Aynadis

Community Hygiene and Sanitation Expert