Group Handwashing is a path breaking innovation that can potentially improve the education and health outcomes of 110 million children who have mid-day meal daily, across India. Group Handwashing ensures that all children wash hands in 'groups', stand facing each other, exchange positive messages, make 'eye to eye' contact and enjoy the process.
Handwashing with soap before the government-supplied Mid-day Meal (MDM) is important because children are most energetic, enthusiastic and open to new ideas and change. As powerful agents of behavioral change, children can take lessons they have learned at school back home to teach their parents, siblings and elders on good hygiene behaviors such as handwashing with soap.
- Washing hands with soap at two critical times – after using the toilet and before eating food – reduces the incidence of diarrhea by an average of 30 per cent.
- Handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARIs) by more than 20 per cent.
- Handwashing promotion in schools can play a role in reducing the number of days children miss school.
- Handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent diarrhea-related deaths and disease.
- By washing hands with soap children get the nutritional benefits intended, rather than ingesting bacteria, germs and viruses.