For Global Hand Washing Day, Samaritan's Purse teams across the world celebrated with schools and communities where they have implemented good hygiene practices.
by Robinson Masongo, the senior program manager for water, sanitation, and hygiene in Kenya
On October 15, a Mariakani village in Kwale County, Kenya, celebrated Global Hand Washing Day. A total of 3,000 students, teachers, and community leaders attended the celebrations. A few miles from Mariakani village is Lustangani village, where Samaritan’s Purse implements a water, sanitation, and hygiene project.
Samaritan’s Purse helps communities construct water tanks to promote water harvesting, and in every tank a message of hand washing is printed. One such tank is located outside of Mzee Mwachiti’s home, and it faces the main highway between Mariakani and Kinango town. Mzee hopes the message about hand washing will continue to give more power to generations to come. Although the elderly man was too tired to travel to the celebrations in Mariakani, hundreds of children had the opportunity to wash their hands from soap and water dispensers provided by Samaritan’s Purse.
Samaritan’s Purse continues to promote hygiene and sanitation in the villages of Kwale County, where many children never get to see their fifth birthday due to diarrhea caused by poor sanitation that would otherwise be prevented through hand washing.
River Gee, Liberia
by Chad Warren, an intern in the Samaritan’s Purse Liberia office
For Global Hand Washing Day on October 15, River Gee County in Liberia celebrated by bringing more than 200 students, teachers and local authorities together for several festivities. I thank God for His provision in a smooth program, plenty of food, safety in transport, and cooperative and interested participants.
We started the day early by sending several cars out to pick up students from the School Health Clubs in the nearby communities. We were able to begin a march through town at approximately 8:45 a.m. We marched down the main street of Fish Town singing hand washing awareness chants.
After finishing the march at the City Hall, we had our special guests and the students all wash their hands at a couple of hand-washing stations set up just outside the building. We began the indoor program at around 10:15. This program included songs, dramas, recitations of Scripture, and a quizzing competition all performed by the students of the School Health Clubs. These were certainly the highlights for the entire day.
One drama, performed by students from Teajaliken Public School, was especially good. The students’ understanding and motivation to share the message of proper hand washing was clearly displayed through the drama. I was impressed not only with this drama, but also with all the performances and involvement from the students.
The quizzing competition was another highlight for the day. Two schools, each with five selected students, competed in a game show-style competition, answering questions about proper hand washing. This was a fun part of the day and really energized the audience. All of the students were impressive in their abilities to share how much they have learned through the School Health Club training. I think their performance was a great display of the impact that God, through Samaritan’s Purse, has had on these children. The water, sanitation, and hygiene staff received many praises on the quality of education that has been given.
When the program was complete, everyone was given a cake of soap and asked to wash their hands. We then gave food to everyone, and the students were taken back to their homes. I thank God for all He did this day. His Spirit was clearly present. The atmosphere was positive and fun, full of laughing and dancing. I believe Samaritan’s Purse was represented well, and, more importantly, I believe God was pleased in the way He was represented.