Investing in Hand Hygiene
Washing hands is one of the most critical behaviours for protection from contracting and spreading disease.
Good hand hygiene protects children from pneumonia, diarrhoea, and loss of education. However, the estimated global rates of handwashing after using the toilet are only around 19%.
Safeguarding 10,000 lives
We’ve just concluded a UK Aid funded project installing handwashing equipment in 20 primary schools in the district of Kumi, Eastern Uganda!
These schools were struggling with inadequate provision, only offering handwashing solutions suited for home-use but not for the high-frequency demand in schools.
1 in 4 pupils, aged between 7-16, told us they did not wash their hands after visiting the school latrine.
Each of the schools received a permanently-fixed handwashing platform located outside their latrines. Designed to be durable, incorporate drainage, and intended for community use, these facilities hold enough water for the duration of the school day.
Additionally, the schools were provided with some portable handwashing equipment for the classrooms, alongside training pupils on how to practice good hand hygiene.
We also supported health teams to visit each school to teach pupils on constructing inexpensive handwashing solutions for their homes.
Culturally, it was customary to wash hands before and after eating, but few children habitually washed their hands after visiting the latrine.
The attitude to handwashing has changed completely. We have now discovered that the children, after coming back from the garden, they wash their hands. After tying the goats, they wash their hands. They now know it’s not limited to just eating. Before they knew they should wash their hands before and after eating, but now they know there are many activities we do where we need to wash our hands.”
As a result of this project, we recorded 98% of pupils routinely washing their hands after visiting the school latrine!
Addressing Menstrual Health
This project is part of our commitment to creating period-friendly schools.
For menstruating pupils to manage their periods comfortably in school, without shame or fear, they need protection, privacy, the right product, and, of course, the ability to practice menstrual hygiene.
Providing handwashing solutions is just one way in which we are dedicated to supporting young people to develop with dignity.
Handwashing is a life-saving behaviour that often fails to get the investment it needs. Pressured school budgets buy inadequate equipment of poor quality that are insufficient to meet demand.
Many more schools need facilities such as those we’ve installed here, but what does it cost? Just £450 will support one school with a 1000ltr handwashing platform outside their latrine.
UK Aid Direct
Funding for the above project was secured through the UK Government’s Small Charities Challenge Fund.
Funding was also used to respond to the urgent needs presented by Covid-19, allowing us to provide 10 community health facilities with basic handwashing equipment, soap and hand sanitiser, mitigating the spread of infection and keeping medical staff safe.