UMCOR / News Room / News & Features / Archives 2009 / 1113 - Clean Hands Save Lives

Clean Hands Save Lives

“Clean Hands Save Lives” was the theme of the 2nd International Global Hand washing Day (GHD). UMCOR Indonesia celebrated the day with thousands of schoolchildren, hundreds of teachers and local government department representatives from Education and Health offices in Bireuen and Aceh Besar districts of Aceh Province.

UMCOR’s water, sanitation and hygiene projects combine construction of quality child-friendly toilet facilities with positive hygiene behavior change practices for schoolchildren taught by UMCOR-trained teachers. UMCOR coordinated two Global Hand Washing Day celebrations in Jreuk Primary School in Aceh Besar District and in MIN Cot Meurak Primary School in Bireuen District.

Invited guests made speeches to highlight the importance of using soap when practicing hands washing at critical times, such as after using the toilet and before handling food. Schoolchildren learned that the simple act of washing your hands with soap can reduce diarrheal rates by 40 per cent and reduce the risk of lung infections. The UMCOR speech in SDN Jruek Primary School was delivered by the Head of Mission, John Holveck to a crowd of about 200 people. In MIN Cot Meurak, Mr. Laurent Phung, the Field Coordinator for Bireuen spoke to an audience of over 200 people. Both speeches were warmly received by both the school and community. UNICEF donated hygiene kits and hygiene promotion information material that were given to the schoolchildren and teachers.

Following the speeches the honorable guest representatives of the District Education, Health and Local Government Offices demonstrated how to lather up with soap, consistently rub hands and hygienically wash off the soap with water in front of the excited schoolchildren teachers. The schoolchildren repeated the practice, presented a play, and recited poems that further re-enforced the practice of hand washing with soap to commemorate the occasion.

About Global Hand Washing Day

Global Hand Washing Day was initiated by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Hand Washing with Soap in 2008, when more than 120 million children in more than 70 countries around the world washed their hands with soap. The event is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organization, NGOs, private companies and individuals around the globe.

About UMCOR Indonesia

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is a not-for-profit global humanitarian aid organization, working in more than 80 countries worldwide. Our mission is to alleviate human suffering – whether caused by war, conflict, or natural disaster, with open hearts and minds to all people.

UMCOR established its field offices in Indonesia following the December 2004 tsunami. Country operations are based in Medan with field offices in Banda Aceh and Bireuen.

UMCOR Indonesia continues to help those affected by the 2005 tsunami and the 30 year conflict preceding it. To support these projects, please give generously to Indonesia Emergency, UMCOR Advance #217400. Online Giving