Global Handwashing Day 2020 in West Guadalcanal Schools

Students with facemarks in front of Global Handwashing Day sign in Solomon Islands

Global Handwashing day 2020 was celebrated by students and staff in 8 partner schools in West Guadalcanal Province, Solomon Islands. The 2020 theme is  “Hand Hygiene for ALL,” and the current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role hand hygiene plays in disease transmission. The theme reminds us of the need to take immediate action on hand hygiene across all public and private settings to control the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The main objective of the celebration activities in the schools was to promote the critical role hand hygiene plays in the transmission of disease, including COVID-19, and for schools to take actions on hand hygiene to protect ALL students, teachers, parents and the community.

Because of COVID-19 safety practices, the activities were designed to reduce the crowding of students in large groups. Each school set up 5 different information stations that students visited in small groups. The stations presented information on:

  1. Germs are everywhere
  2. Poo in one place
  3. Hand washing steps and song
  4. Taking the Eww out of Poo (breaking the fecal-oral cycle)
  5. COVID-19 awareness

Each station was decorated with posters and information produced by the student WASH Clubs, and had a teacher or student WASH Club member present to share information and answer questions. Hand-washing demonstration facilities with soap and sanitizer were also provided.

Students reading information about Global Handwashing Day

The approach allowed the students to move in small groups and have repeated opportunity to actively participate in the discussions, ask questions and participate in the demonstrations. Teachers reported that they appreciated how all students were able to move between the different stations and learn from the program in such an interactive way.

A parent representative told the head teacher in one school that they really appreciated the program and pledged their support for future hygiene and sanitation activities planned by the school.

The Global Handwashing Day 2020 activities were implemented by the Live & Learn Solomon Islands team, supported through two programs implementing WASH in Schools activities in West Guadalcanal Province – the UNICEF Solomon Islands Better Learning Environments (SIBLE) program and the New Times New Targets project implemented with Plan International Australia through the Australian government Water for Women Fund.

Students washing their hands with soap at safe distance from each other

This report was prepared by Live & Learn Solomon Islands SIBLE project staff

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