Diarrhea remains one of the main threats to child health and well-being in the developing world – each year killing nearly two million children under five and causing more than five billion disease episodes. Washing hands with soap at critical times – after contact with feces and before handling food – could reduce diarrheal rates by up to 47 percent (Curtis and Cairncross, 2003). However, rates of handwashing with soap remain low throughout the developing world and large-scale promotion of handwashing behavior change is a challenge.
Global Scaling Up Handwashing is a WSP project focused on learning how to apply innovative promotional approaches to behavior change to generate widespread and sustained improvements in handwashing with soap at scale among women of reproductive age (ages 15-49) and primary school-aged children (ages 5-9). The project is being implemented by local and national governments with technical support from WSP. It is currently being tested in Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, and Vietnam. This project builds on national campaigns initiated by the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW).
Scaling Up Reach
The project is currently being implemented in Peru, Senegal , Tanzania, and Vietnam (see latest Progress Report PDF) . As of December 2009:
- 40.7 million women and children have been exposed to the project’s mass media campaigns
- Over 2.3 million women and children have been engaged through repeated face-to-face interactions with trained outreach workers
- More than 378,500 women and children have been exposed through promotional edu-tainment events
- More than 26,000 people representing a diversity of sectors and segments of society including teachers, health professionals, local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), university students and teachers, community volunteers, local government officials, and private sector firms have been trained to facilitate and support handwashing with soap behavior change.
Core Project Components
Core components include:
- Innovative behavior change programming that combines mass media, interpersonal communication, and direct consumer contact events
- Strengthening the enabling environment by working closely with local and national governments and public-private partnerships in the areas of education, health, and sanitation
- Learning about what works and why, and sharing findings
- Monitoring and evaluation to manage for results and measure cost effectiveness
- Measuring impacts on health, child development, and household productivity.