The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), through its Africa Foundation, joined the rest of the world on Monday, 15 October 2012, to mark the fifth anniversary of Global Handwashing Day 2012.
The day was aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent disease.
Keeping with this year's theme: 'Help More Children Reach Their 5th Birthday', TCCC promoted handwashing by supporting events at Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) project sites in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda.
Access to drinking water
RAIN is a signature community initiative of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation (TCCAF) that aims to provide over 2 million people in Africa with access to drinking water by 2015 by implementing water projects across the continent.
Sanitation and hygiene education programmes are a central component of RAIN, ensuring that wide scale handwashing in communities is promoted through behaviour change communication (BCC), the production of information, education and communication (IEC) materials and other methods.
New WASH facilities opened
In Tanzania, TCCAF and partners hosted an official handover ceremony of the newly constructed water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities at Kinole Primary School, in the Morogoro District of Tanzania. This is one of the 15 schools in the country where TCCAF and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have partnered to implement a WASH project under RAIN.
The event raises awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap and spread key hygiene messaging throughout the school and the local community. Activities at the school included the construction of two new latrine blocks for the students; the construction of two water tanks; training on health, hygiene, operations and maintenance; and the formation of a student health and hygiene club. The guest of honour for the occasion was the district executive director of the Morogoro District Council.
Handwashing is widely viewed as a hygienic behaviour that provides the necessary protection against cholera and other common endemic gastro-enteric infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries. Because handwashing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens, it has been compared to effective vaccines in saving lives, particularly those of young children.
"Water, health and youth development are TCCAF's areas of focus. Global Handwashing Day incorporates these three areas into one of the most critical issues facing the continent. We are therefore excited to be supporting this important day and proud to be able to contribute to ensuring that children across the continent reach their 5th birthdays," says William Asiko, president, TCCAF.
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