GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY – OUR STORY
Midwife and Instagram star Clemmie Hooper (@mother_of_daughters) and her husband Simon (@father_of_daughters) have seen first-hand how a lack of sanitation, clean water and soap for handwashing has on the people living in the poorest communities in Africa.
Last month, they visited Madagascar on behalf of WaterAid and Soaper Duper to see first-hand WaterAid’s mission at work. On Sunday the 15th October 2017, Global Handwashing Day, both Simon and Clemmie are supporting WaterAid and Soaper Duper’s efforts to raise awareness around the importance of handwashing, with a special focus on children.
Simon, Clemmie and Soaper Duper have developed a handwashing kit, guide and 7-day challenge for families to educate their children how and when to wash hands effectively.
Clemmie “I was shocked to find out that 800 children die every day, around the world, from preventable diseases caused by dirty water – that’s one child every two minutes. Handwashing with soap can cut cases of diarrhoea by 40% and saves so many children. Even in the UK, where we have the fortune of clean water and sophisticated sanitation facilities, only 1-5 people wash their hands with soap after using the toilet and we need to raise awareness to change that!’
Handwashing with soap is the most affordable and effective means of combating water-related disease and illness. For example, handwashing with soap could prevent many of the 272 million yearly schooldays lost worldwide to diarrheal disease, and 50% of the infections acquired in healthcare settings such as the health centres that Simon and Clemmie visited in Madagascar. Handwashing with soap improves access to education for children, protects the health of patients and communities, and reduces inequities. It plays an important role in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals—contributing to zero hunger, good health, quality education, reduced inequalities, and more. It’s a habit we ALL need to get into.
Simon “In Ambohidronono Village we met a wonderful lady called Robina, who is 17 years old and 8 months pregnant with her second baby. Together with her mother, Perline (aged 54) who carried Robina’s son on her back in the heat of the midday sun, we made the arduous trek to a river to collect water that was being contaminated by cattle as we arrived. They both have no choice but to drink contaminated water. They don’t have a toilet to use at home or at school, or any means of cleaning themselves. Women most often bear the burden of collecting water for the family and drop out of school due not only to lack of time, but a lack of appropriate sanitation to cope with their periods. As a father of four daughters, it made me appreciate more than ever how clean water, access to sanitation and soap are essential, not only for health, but for gender equality.”
In Mahavoky Village, where WaterAid installed clean water, toilets and soap seven months ago, there was so much hope.
Clemmie: “Here I met midwife Narinda at her health centre where she has delivered many babies. She told that before she had clean water, women had to carry their own water in, whilst in labour and it was difficult for them to keep clean during and after delivery. Narinda couldn’t wash her hands or practice safe hygiene during deliveries, diarrhoea and infection rates were also very high. Now they have a shower, facilities to wash clothes, toilets and clean water and soap. A safe place to give birth that she’s very proud of. It was amazing to see the transformative power of simple soap and clean water.”
Soaper Duper is committed to donating £150k to WaterAid by 2019 and this Global Handwashing Day, together with Clemmie, are giving away 100 Soaper Duper family hand washing kits to educate and enforce the importance of why, when and how to wash your hands properly. Go to @mother_of_daughters on October 15th for a chance to win or visit soaperduper.com to download a free copy here of the kids’ handwashing rewards chart.
Watch the Soaper Duper Handwashing video here.