Global Handwashing Day Celebration 

November 2014.

SAWERA celebrated Global Handwashing Day with the tribal IDPs Internally Displaced Persons) - children and women at the targeted locations of KPK-Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province), to promote women access to safe health & hygiene practices. The following is a report of SAWERA's event at Government Girls Higher Secondary School located in village Tarnab farm, union council (UC) Lala, District Peshawar.

By: Sidra Durrani, Meal Officer, SAWERA

Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is a campaign to motivate and mobilize millions around the world to wash their hands with soap. It takes place on October 15 of each year.

The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of hand washing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.

Importance of the Movement

SAWERA-cakeSAWERA's celebratory cake, for the end of the session.Hand washing with soap is the single most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARI), when it becomes everyday behavior performed in homes, schools, and communities worldwide. 

Pneumonia, a major ARI, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, taking the lives of an estimated 1.8 million children every year.

Diarrhea and pneumonia together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually, according to Child Survival UNICEF (The State of the World’s Children 2008). Making hand washing with soap into an everyday habit before eating, and after using the toilet, is estimated to be able to save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.

Hand washing could cut deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one quarter.

SAWERA, with the support of Care International, arranged a programme on Global Handwashing Day on 15th October 2014, in Government Girls Higher Secondary School located in village Tarnab farm, union council (UC) Lala, District Peshawar.


Handwashing-welcomeThe event formally started with the recitation of Quran. After that, the team members, comprising of members of SAWERA and CARE International in Pakistan, introduced themselves.

Care International is currently running a project called ‘’Emergency Livelihoods Assistance for Vulnerable Conflict-affected, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Living in District Peshawar,’’ which is run by its two partners, SAWERA and IDEA (Initiative for Development and Empowerment Axis).


Sawera's Team

  1. Irum Javed - Project Manager
  2. Sidra Durrani - Meal Officer
  3. Seema Naz - District Livelihood Officer (DLO)
  4. Aneela Tajik - Social Organiser
  5. Salma Nazeef - Social Organiser
  6. Saba Gul Rehmat - Social Organiser

Details of the Event

SAWERA-handwashing-2SAWERA arranged a one-day hand washing activity for the school children in Govt Girls Higher Secondary School, funded by Care International under their Food Security and Livelihood programme.

The programme started at 10:30 am and ended at 1:30 pm. The main objective of this training was to give children the message that hand washing needs to be repeated several times throughout the day, especially before lunch and after using the restroom/lavatory. Students were taught that germs are so small that you cannot see them and they can be found almost everywhere. Washing your hands can help to get rid of germs and prevent people from getting sick.

After the recitation, the proceedings of the programme began and all of the staff members introduced themselves. Miss Seema, DLO from SAWERA began by introducing the SAWERA team and warmly welcomed the participants.

Miss Seema then started with a presentation which pointed out the importance of hand washing and its crucial role in disease prevention.

Five Critical Facts from the Hygiene Session

A hygiene session was delivered by throwing light on the ‘five critical facts’ everyone should know about washing their hands.

Then followed the practical demonstration on how to wash your hands properly. The five facts are as follows:

  1. Washing hands with water alone is not enough! Proper hand washing requires soap and only a small amount of water.
    Using soap works by breaking down the grease and dirt that carry most germs, facilitating the rubbing and friction that dislodge them and leaving hands smelling pleasant. The clean smell and feeling that soap creates are incentives for its use.
  2. Hand washing with soap can prevent diseases that kill millions of children every year. Hand washing with soap is among the most effective ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the majority of child deaths.
    Hand washing can also prevent skin infections, eye infections, and intestinal worms.
  3. Hands should be washed with soap after using the toilet, after cleaning a child’s bottom (or any other contact with human excreta, including that of babies and children) and before any contact with food.
    Hands are the principal carriers of disease-causing germs. It is important to ensure that people have a way to wash their hands at these critical moments.
  4. Hand washing with soap is the single most cost-effective health intervention. Promoting hand washing is cost-effective when compared with other frequently funded health interventions.
    Cost is not typically a barrier; almost all households in the world already have soap – though it is commonly used for laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, rather than for hand washing.
  5. Children can be agents of change when it comes down to sharing good hygiene practices. Children are so often the part of society the most energetic, enthusiastic and open to new ideas, and can act as agents of change by taking the “hand washing lessons” learned at school back into their homes and communities.
    Global Handwashing Day aims to motivate children to embrace and share proper hand washing practices, and place them as “hand washing ambassadors” at the heart of each country’s national and local initiatives.

Seven Ways of Washing Hands

SAWERA-soapSeven ways of washing hands was practically demonstrated to students. The technique is to use warm water (not cold or hot) when you wash your hands. Use whatever soap you like. Antibacterial soaps are OK to use, but regular soap works fine. Work up some lather on both sides of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers. Don't forget to wash around your nails.

Wash for about 10 to 15 seconds.

The participants listened to the directions demonstrated by Seema, listening intently, and noted down all the important points with regard to the indispensable significance of the training.

Mini Play

SAWERA-handwashing-3An activity was conducted by the students, focusing on how germs which we cannot see can cause severe problems.

The importance of hand washing was highlighted by mentioning that illnesses and diseases caused by bacteria and viruses can be very serious and can even cause death if not properly treated.

The main theme was to look at the difference a family can make by adopting safe rules of hygiene in keeping away various diseases.

Quizzes and Involving Children in Hand Washing

Another activity was arranged by involving children in hand washing activities and then to asking them different questions.

Some examples were: “Why isn’t it enough to wash with water alone?” “What are the 'critical moments' when hands should be washed with soap?” “What is the 'correct' way to wash hands?”

Closing and Gifts Distribution

SAWERA-giftsSAWERA's project manager (PM) on behalf of Care International, thanked the participants, including the administrative staff of Govt Higher Secondary School for their active participation. In return, the participants expressed their hearty gratitude and sincerely thanked the SAWERA team and Care International for arranging such a fruitful and valuable programme.

The day had enhanced their awareness of the importance of hand washing activities.

At the end, a cake cutting ceremony was done. Miss Irum, PM of SAWERA, distributed gifts among the successful participants of the programme.