Global Handwashing Day in Darfur is all about soap, Tippy Taps and peace
Following the 2011 Global Handwashing Day in Sudan’s Darfur region, ACTED organized an awareness event at one of the local girl’s schools to creatively present the importance of hand washing. However, the students had an additional point they wanted to make...
ZALINGEI, Darfur [ACTED News] - “Hand washing is not just about ‘killing bacteria’ or ‘staying healthy’. It’s about children missing fewer days at school and getting a better education and a better future. It’s about parents spending less time worrying about their sick kids and less money on expensive medicine. And it’s about entrepreneurs losing less income because they cannot follow their daily business activities. So eventually, washing hands is about fighting poverty. ”
Admittedly, the message on Global Hand Washing day in Zalingei’s Um Al Gorra girl’s school, with almost 500 pupils and their teachers, representatives from UN agencies, line ministries and the local community, may have seemed quite idealistic, and maybe even a little melodramatic. Students, aged four to twelve, were however more than aware of the importance of the issue. Moreover, they were already agents of change. The event started with the distribution of soap to all pupils, followed by a cultural program of songs, dance, poems and drama, during which the pink soap bars were occasionally waved to the rhythm of local music. The performance itself not only impressed the audience, but further attracted students from the nearby secondary school as well as members from the community just passing by.
One of the highlights was the construction of a ‘tippy tap’, a low-cost, low-tech hand washing device by two of the school’s pupils and teachers. The technology was introduced in a workshop held by ACTED and was intended as something that could easily be replicated in every household. The construction took no more than five minutes, and as soon as it was set up, it encouraged teachers, officials, UN representatives and of course ACTED staff to set a good example and wash their hands on the spot.
However, the importance of hand washing was not the only essential theme of the event. In the context of the ongoing conflict in Darfur, students used the opportunity to express their desire for peace and urged people to lay down their weapons. As one five year-old girl put it, “Guns can never end a war, fighting can never lead to peace, only talking with each other can achieve that”. This initiative by the students came as a surprise, but was nothing less than inspiring.
The event ended with the distribution of recreational kits, which were provided by UNICEF. The celebrations went on long after the official ceremony had finished. But eventually, the day turned out not to be only an enjoyable event for the school or an important occasion to raise awareness. Moreover it showed us how much this region depends on future generations, not only in the fight against poverty but also in its efforts to establish lasting peace.
Latest news Sudan
- Jobs for roads in Darfur
- “All rain starts from just one drop”
- World Refugee Day: 15.2 million people in the world
- Global Handwashing Day in Darfur is all about soap, Tippy Taps and peace
- Empowering community involvement in sanitation activities
- Improving Water and Sanitation facilities in prisons in South Sudan
- Behavior change: a long term commitment