GIZ, through the Regional Fit for School Program, joined this year’s celebration of Global Handwashing Day by supporting different activities from the Ministries of Education across the region. In the Philippines, Department of Education, together with different partner organizations and agencies, gathered at the Marikina Elementary School last October 14 to reaffirm their commitment to promoting handwashing in schools. With the theme “Sama-samang Ikaway, Malilinis na Kamay”, the event highlighted the importance of collaborative effort to advance proper hand hygiene programs in schools and communities. The celebration was attended by representatives from DepEd, DOH, UNICEF, WHO, GIZ, Save the Children, the Marikina City government, and other organizations and livestreamed through DepEd’s Facebook page.
One of the initiatives of the program is the development and strengthening of the Three-Star Approach (TSA), a monitoring and recognition system which provides a stepwise approach to reach the national standards for basic WASH services. Through the TSA, schools can monitor their own progress and identify what needs to be done to improve their WASH services and facilities. Data from the 92.9% of schools nationwide participating in WinS monitoring shows that there is continuous increase in the number of schools in the Philippines with essential WASH facilities, including group handwashing facilities, which has now reached 68.3% from its baseline data of 33.6% in 2017. This, together with continuous progress in other indicators, makes the country one of the few countries on track to meet its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets to achieve universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene in schools.
In Indonesia, a webinar on school sanitation was held on October 13 in celebration of the Global Handwashing Day. The event was organized by Directorate General of Early Childhood Education, Primary Education and Secondary Education of the MOECRT, supported by GIZ HBCC project and UNICEF, to present the status of WASH in School (WinS) in the country and promote the habit of handwashing with soap for a healthy learning environment. Several speakers from different sectors were invited, including a TV personality and influencer, Ikke Nurjanah, who is the National Drinking Water and Environmental Health Working Group and Sanitation Ambassador. The event also highlighted the importance of partnership with private sectors to carry out handwashing activities. The webinar was livestreamed through the department’s Youtube page. As part of this year’s celebration, a circular letter was issued by the Director General of Early Childhood Education, Primary Education and Secondary Education addressed to all heads of education offices at the provincial and district/city levels to carry out simultaneous handwashing activities on October 15.
According to the latest data, in Indonesia, coverage of basic hygiene services has increased by 3.5 percentage points per year since 2015, with 66% coverage in 2021. GIZ, through the FIT program, supported the inclusion and online visualization of WASH in Schools indicators in the Education Information System (DAPODIK) to better allow schools and local governments to track their progress and identify WASH services that need improvement and resource allocation.
Every year, global handwashing day is being celebrated all over the world to highlight the importance of handwashing with soap as the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases, including COVID-19. The theme for this year, “Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene”, is a call for different WASH actors – from policymakers, local government, donors, researchers, institutions, and private sectors to unite to achieve universal hand hygiene.