Did you know that aside from giving you protection from infectious diseases, washing your hands can also make other people happier?
A global survey says that clean hands can increase life satisfaction. 8 in 10 respondents said that knowing other people wash their hands makes them more willing to interact with others.
Manila Water Foundation (MWF) wants to instill this good hygiene habit to communities by celebrating Global Handwashing Day last October 15. Held at the Mariano Marcos Memorial High School in Santa Ana, Manila, it drew over 1000 attendees composed of students, parents, and barangay residents who received hygiene kits and were taught the 7 handwashing steps and when it should be practiced.
With the theme, Clean Hands for All, MWF aims to make access to clean water, soap, and proper hygiene education inclusive to all.
“We’re very happy with the turnout of our event, especially that we could see the collaboration among different sectors, from the academe, the local government unit, community, to other social civic organizations,” said Reginald Andal, MWF’s Executive Director.
MWF has been conducting Global Handwashing Day for the past 6 years. Last year, they were able to reach 5 million people through their onsite events and online activities. This 2019, they’re targeting to reach more through the help of private companies such as FamilyDoc.
They led a medical mission attending to students, faculty members, and residents in Santa Ana, Manila. Katherin De Leon, FamilyDoc’s Sales and Marketing Manager said they participated in the Global Handwashing Day because they believe in the importance of advocating proper healthcare habits in communities. “Our doctors educate people about preventive health care. They encourage hand washing to prevent them from getting communicable diseases,” she said.
Cleene, a brand under Philusa Corporation, was MWF’s official soap sponsor. They have been an avid supporter of MWF for the past 3 years to help educate people on proper handwashing.
Mr. Neogin Evangelista, President and CEO of Philusa, urged the attendees to invest in preventive healthcare. “Kailangan maagap tayo sa kalusugan para di tayo nagkakasakit (We should be proactive about our health so we don't get sick),” he said
Representatives from the local government also took part in the event. Manila Vice-Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan was there to express her support for MWF’s mission to help communities live a healthier life. “It’s important that the government supports the private sector, that there’s unity to fight diseases,” she said.
Asked about what’s new in this year’s celebration, Andal said that they have more activities. “We consider students, community residents, onsite and online activities. Part of our campaign is the behavioral change communication campaign. We want to make sure that people whom we’re reaching will really have a change in mindset and behavior,” he said.
They also organized a cooking demo led by the teachers to highlight the importance of handwashing when preparing food. For the students: poster-making contest and storytelling activity in partnership with Adarna House.
MWF commits to provide sustainable water access, sanitation and hygiene facilities to marginalized communities in the Philippines so they can help 20 million Filipinos who don’t have access to safe drinking water.
“Our measurement of success is sustainability. After the event will they continue with their old habits or are they going to adapt a new behavior? What we’re really after is embedding the right mindset in communities,” Andal said.
MWF will be closing the month-long celebration of Global Handwashing Day with Aeta communities in Barangay Sapang Uwak in Porac, Pampanga on Tuesday, October 29. – Rappler.com