Global Handwashing Day celebrated its seventh anniversary on Thursday, October 15. Clean the World was thrilled to have the opportunity to promote the cause in both of our US locations: Orlando and Las Vegas.
Founded by Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW), Global Handwashing Day is a day of advocacy dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases. This holiday puts a much-needed spotlight on hygiene and the enormous effect hand washing has on improving global health.
Nearly 6,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from hygiene-related illnesses. Hand washing with soap is a “do-it-yourself vaccine” that, when practiced properly and regularly, prevents infections and saves lives. Many people in the public-health sector refer to it as the cheapest way to prevent hygiene-related deaths and stop the spread of harmful bacteria.
Clean the World hosted two events in honor of Global Handwashing Day. The events took place at the Artegon Marketplace in Orlando, a few miles from our home office, and at the Linq Promenade in Las Vegas. Clean the World employees set up informational booths and sinks for hand washing at each location with the help of our sponsor, the American Cleaning Institute. A sink in the middle of a marketplace is an unusual sight, and it it attracted onlookers to learn more about Global Handwashing Day and Clean the World’s mission. Our booths offered a tutorial on how to properly wash hands with soap to maximize cleanliness.
Lilly Dimling, the director of programs for Clean the World, participated in the Orlando Global Handwashing Day event, helping to spread awareness at the Artegon Marketplace. “This year we ‘raised the soap bar’ in our celebration of Global Handwashing Day. We wanted to get out to the public and promote awareness of the importance of hand washing. We got down and dirty, showed people how to wash properly, and quizzed them on when it is most important. I think I can say everyone had a good time, and we have a new group of hand washing ambassadors!”
Throughout the day, dozens of people approached the booth and interacted with Clean the World volunteers. Some had never heard of our organization or knew that October 15 was Global Handwashing Day. The Orlando team also raised money through “Raise a Hand for Hygiene” to support our worldwide hygiene mission. Many people showed interest in future volunteer opportunities at Clean the World’s Recycling Operations Centers in Orlando and Las Vegas.
The main goals for this year’s Global Handwashing Day were to:
- Foster and support a global and local culture of hand washing with soap
- Shine a spotlight on the state of hand washing around the world
- Raise awareness about the benefits of hand washing with soap
This was Clean the World’s first year celebrating Global Handwashing Day with an off-site event that was open to the public. We learned a lot, and will use this experience to produce an even bigger event next year.