GIZ, through the Fit for School Program, joins the Department of Education (DepEd) Philippines, in their celebration of the Global Handwashing Day 2021 themed, “Malinis na Kamay Para sa Kinabukasan ng Bayan”. GIZ, along with UNICEF and Save the Children, is supporting DepEd in the launch of an online dance competition among schools, teachers, and learners, which aims to raise awareness and promote hygiene among teachers, learners, and the entire school community. The online dance competition will showcase the COVID-19 infection prevention and control jingle produced by DepEd Philippines through the support of GIZ Philippines, the UK Government, and Unilever, in cooperation with UNICEF Philippines and Save the Children Philippines. The competition will run for approximately a month and selected entries will be awarded on November 19 during the Department of Education’s celebration of the World Toilet Day.
In addition to this, the FIT Program continuously supports several regions in the Philippines with WASHaLOTs, a compact and mobile group handwashing facility design, to enable handwashing with soap among learners, teachers, and non-teaching personnel upon the resumption of face-to-face classes. This initiative likewise aims to help schools improve their WinS status and further prepare them for the physical reopening of classes as part of their COVID-19 response. As of writing, 236 units of WASHaLOTs were already distributed in Region I, while additional 312 units and 324 units will be distributed in Regions VI and X, respectively, before the end of the year.
The Fit for School Program continues to support the strengthening of DepEd WinS monitoring and evaluation to allow schools to benchmark their progress and identify specific areas for improvement. The first monitoring conducted in SY 2017/18 showed that approximately 1 out of 4 schools had no handwashing facility within the school premises and only 50.4% of schools have one water outlet for less than 50 students. In SY 2020/2021, tremendous improvements were seen with 91% of schools nationwide now having handwashing facilities with soap, and 73% of schools having one water outlet for less than 50 students.
Handwashing is a critical measure in the prevention and control of COVID-19. It has been recognized as the most important step in avoiding illness and preventing the spread of germs. To prevent COVID-19 and other diseases, it’s important to #WashYourHands both inside AND outside your home! This #GlobalHandwashingDay, remember to wash your hands regularly to protect yourself and those around you.