Hand Washing Day

New sanitary behaviors being learned at school

New sanitary behaviors being learned at school

After school today, I happen to turn on the radio and, to our greatest surprise, we heard that October 15, today, has been declared “Global Hand washing Day and Mary, Issah and I laughed so hard.  We had just been talking about the challenges the introduction of washing hands with soap after toilet and before eating is posing.  The children love it so much that they pretend they need to go to toilet so they can wash their hands. It is a lot of work for the teachers to keep the recipients filled at all times.  In fact, we were running low on water today and had to call for help. About 15 women brought in water.  


Understandably, the two teachers and assistant saw the children’s extreme interest in washing their hands with soap as a problem. I shared with them how children, all the world over, love to play with water, and especially soapy water: the feel, suds and bubbles are all points of great interest to young children. Besides, for these children, this is the very first time they actually have the opportunity to wash their hands with soap, and as often as necessary. This is a huge luxury!


We brainstormed ways to moderate / reduce the traffic at the hand washing stands. One idea was to create an activity with soapy water in the classroom. Also, the novelty will probably wear off after a few weeks and regulate itself.


How interesting that while we were pondering in our little corner in Bumboazio, deliberating about how to manage the children’s high interest in hand washing with soap, the rest of the world was celebrating the day as “Global Hand Washing Day with fanfare!  


Hygiene and sanitation, and basic health have been part and parcel of the education model PAMBE Ghana strives to develop. Hence, we made provision (albeit modest) for them in our planning and implementation.


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