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“Clean Hands for All” prevents spread of disease

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Ocean of Light kindergarten teacher, Sosefina Taufa, and students, Zephaniah Taumalolo and Naomi Vailea, demonstrate how to wash hands outside Malia Tupu 'Imakulata Hall, Ma'ufanga. 15 October 2019.

Students from seven kindergarten schools gathered to celebrate Global Hand Washing Day today, 15 October, under the theme “Clean Hands for All”.

The event at the Malia Tupu 'Imakulata Hall in Ma'ufanga, included a singing and drawing competition, organized by Live and Learn Environmental Education Tonga, as part of their High 5 – Under 5s Hand Wash Campaign 2019, aimed at ensuring children under 5 make handwashing with soap a habit from an early age.

It is one of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing the spread of diseases.

With the help of their teachers, students from each kindergarten performed songs and demonstrated how to wash hands with soap and dry them with a clean towel, at critical times, especially before eating, cooking, and after using bathroom facilities.

The drawings and singing performances were judged by a panel and winners were awarded prizes.

The kindergarten schools who took part in the event include Maamaloa Fakatouato Ngeleia, Falakiko ‘Asisi, Ocean of Light, Maamaloa Fasi moe Afi, Maamaloa Vaololoa, Paea he Ofa, and Malia Tupu ‘Imakulata.

Live & Learn Environmental Education Tonga is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through its Australian Aid program.

Under its Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program, it implements projects that particularly improves access to safe sanitation, promotes positive hygiene behaviour change, protects the local environment, and helps people recover water and sanitation services quickly after disasters.

Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually on 15 October and is recognised by the United Nations. It was introduced to reduce childhood mortality rates related respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases by a simple behavioural change - hand washing with soap.

According to UN Water, around 3 billion people still lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water at home.