Thursday, October 19, 2017

UNICEF joins celebration to promote handwashing with soap

Students of the Basic Education School No. 5 Comoro
participating in the Global Handwashing Day event
organized by the Ministers of Health and Education with the support of UNICEF.
©UNICEF Timor-Leste/2017/dmonemnasi
The excitement of students at the Basic Education School No. 5 Comoro as they waited for the start of the Global Handwashing Day event was palpable. Many children ran around the yard, smiling and waving their Global Handwashing Day flags. Others excitedly practiced their skits and presentations.

Global Handwashing Day has been celebrated in Timor-Leste since 2014. This year’s event was filled with enthusiastic singing, skits and presentations with lots of handwashing from children and leaders alike. UNICEF Representative Valérie Taton joined First Lady Cidália Lopes Nobre Mouzinho Guterres and representatives from the Ministries of Education and Health joined the event, organized with the support of UNICEF and other development partners.

This year’s theme, “Our hands, Our future,” emphasizes the impact that handwashing can have not just on individuals but also on communities. Handwashing is an affordable and effective solution to poor health outcomes and has the power to improve access to education for children, protect the health of patients and communities, and reduce inequities.

“Our health is in our hands, as well as our future” declared one student from School No. 5 Comoro during the event. In a short play during the event, students emphasized what could happen to children if they don’t wash their hands with soap after playing, after using the toilet and at other crucial times.