Global Handwashing Day
October 15th 2010
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The practice of handwashing with soap tops the international hygiene agenda on October 15th, with the celebration of Global Handwashing Day, which will include the chance for primary schools to win £2500.

Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the deaths of over 3.5m children under the age of 5 every year.

Although people around the world wash their hands with water, many do not wash their hands with soap at critical moments, including after going to the toilet and before eating food. The challenge is to transform handwashing with soap into an automatic behaviour.

Global Handwashing Day is the centrepiece of a week of activities that aim to mobilise millions of people to wash their hands with soap. This simple activity can prevent the spread of infection and keep children in school.

Global Handwashing Day in UK Schools – How to get involved

Global Handwashing Day aims to motivate children to embrace and share proper handwashing practices and to take on the role of handwashing ambassadors.

Educational settings provide an ideal environment in which to communicate about the importance of personal hygiene, enabling pupils to act as agents of change by sharing the handwashing lessons learned at school with their friends and families.

A range of activities will be taking place in the UK for Global Handwashing Day 2010, including a primary school art competition (with £2500 prize money for the winning school) and a student survey.

Individual schools can also participate by organising their own handwashing-related activities, including games, lessons and assemblies. To help with this, Global Handwashing Day UK partners have compiled a variety of resources for use in schools, providing guidelines, ideas and inspiration, not only for Global Handwashing Day, but for hygiene promotion throughout the year.

School resources and competition information will soon be available at


If you would like to find out more about Global Handwashing Day or how you can participate, please email

Global Handwashing Day 2009   Photo: Anne Koerber/LSHTM

The Global Handwashing Day 2010 UK schools competition is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline.