October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since 2008, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing, build sinks and tippy taps, and demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands. Since then, Global Handwashing Day has continued to grow. Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, individuals, and more.
The 2019 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Clean Hands for All.” This year’s theme follows the push to leave no one behind in the Sustainable Development Agenda. Inequalities in handwashing facilities and effective handwashing promotion programs can put individuals at higher risk for diseases that impact their health, education, and economic outcomes. This year’s theme reminds us that we must be inclusive when addressing handwashing disparities.