October 15 marks World Hand Washing Day, an important date in Oceania. Sanitation is vital in our communities to prevent the spread of disease and to save lives.

The theme of this year is Be A WASH Champion. WASH stands for WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene, a UNICEF initiative that focuses on providing basic facilities for communities that do not have hand washing facilities.

In order to Be A WASH Champion, OfC is promoting the eight steps of hand washing:

The issue of unsanitary practices is a huge one around the world.

  • Worldwide, 2.2 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water.
  • More than half of the global population does not have access to safe sanitation.
  • Three billion people do not have access to handwashing facilities with soap.
  • Still, 673 million people practice open defecation.

The consequences of unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) on children can be deadly. Over 700 children under age 5 die every day of diarrhoeal diseases due to lack of appropriate WASH services. Source: Unicef.org

About UNICEF: UNICEF promotes community-based handwashing through a variety of media and through campaigns like Global Handwashing Day, which reaches hundreds of millions of people every year. Our people-based approach has helped entire communities eliminate the dangerous practice of open defecation, many of whom reached Open Defecation Free status in 2019.