Every year on 15 October we celebrate Global Handwashing Day - a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap. A key behaviour we also address in several of our WASH programmes, especially through our Sustainable Sanitation & Hygiene for All (SSH4A) approach. But what is so important about handwashing with soap?
We spread the word and practice of regular handwashing with soap, because it is an easy way to improve people's health. It is an effective and affordable way to prevent and reduce the risk of diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia, which in turn can cause serious illness and death. We therefore advocate for handwashing with soap to become a habit, to be practiced at key moments such as when preparing food and after having used the toilet.
For handwashing with soap to become a permanent habit, we focus on improving the capacity of local clients and agencies to develop, test and implement effective hygiene behaviour change communication (BCC) activities at scale in their area. As part of our Sustainable Sanitation & Hygiene for All (SSH4A) approach, BCC uses an in-depth understanding of people’s behaviour to design persuasive communication. It should be sustained over time and responsive to changing priorities and needs in order to lead to improved performance. Anchoring innovative BCC for hygiene in local organisations is therefore the essence of the BCC component of SSH4A.