Celebrating the Global Handwashing Day 2017 at Sikeud Primary School with High Level Ceremony
Vientiane, 13 October 2017 – Increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Therefore, the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports has celebrated the Global Handwashing Day 2017 at Sikeud Primary School in Naxaythong district of Vientiane Capital. The celebration was opened by the Chief of the Ministry of Education and Sports Cabinet, Mrs. Khanthaly Siliphongphanh, who remarked on the importance of handwashing, stating that “if children are healthy and study in a healthy environment, they will perform better in school and retain the knowledge to build their future lives.”
The theme for Global Handwashing Day 2017 is “Our Hands, Our Future,” emphasizing how handwashing protects our health, but also allows us to build our own futures, as well as those of our communities and the world. The celebration was organized by representatives of the Ministry of Education and Sports from national, provincial and district level, in close cooperation with the Lao Ministry of Health, and in partnership with the German program Fit for School, implemented by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and SEAMEO INNOTECH, and ChildFund Laos.
The Fit for School program focuses on measures that are simple, scalable, sustainable, and integrated into the education system. The program supports children in acquiring healthy habits and promoting sustainable behavior change through the implementation of daily routines, such as daily group handwashing with soap. The German Ambassador to Lao PDR, H.E. Jens Luetkenherm emphasized during his opening address that “this incredible success of so many schools improving their daily hygiene practices is thanks to the school principals, teachers, representatives of the Ministries of Education and Health, and last but not least, because of the many people of Lao PDR, those Lao citizens who as members of their local communities have supported their schools and their children.”
In Lao PDR, the Ministry of Education and Sports is implementing the Fit for School program since 2011 and the driving force behind the successful scaling up of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools across the country. As of September 2017, already 1,060 schools across all provinces implement daily group handwashing and toothbrushing as part of the Fit for School program.