On the 5th year of Global Handwashing Day, Safeguard encourages handwashing with soap after playtime through donation of 1st sustainable playground with a handwashing station.
This October 15 will mark the 5th year of celebrating Global Handwashing Day in the Philippines. This day will stress the importance of handwashing with soap through a simple message: Clean hands save lives. The simple yet lifesaving act of handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by more than 40 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent. In the Philippines, pneumonia and diarrhea are the 3rd and 4th leading cause of deaths among children under five respectively.
Global Handwashing Day also aims to educate the public that there are 5 critical times for handwashing: before eating, before handling food, after using the toilet, after handling your pets and after playtime. These are key moments when there is a high risk of transmitting germs from the hands to the mouth. As such, instilling the habit of handwashing with soap during these critical times among young children is an important intervention to help reduce child morbidity and mortality.
In line with its mission to promote proper hygiene and health education among Filipino families, Safeguard first celebrated Global Handwashing Day in 2008. Five years later, Safeguard continues to lead the celebration of Global Handwashing Day in the Philippines by making it even bigger and better.
On this 5th birthday of Global Handwashing Day, Safeguard promotes handwashing with soap after playtime, one of the five critical times, by donating five playgrounds with handwashing stations. At a media event held in Sitio Una, Taguig, Safeguard proudly unveiled its birthday gift to the community – the first playground.
Mr. Chad Sotelo, Country Marketing Manager for Safeguard, explains, “Outdoor play is an enjoyable activity for children but it is also important in their development.” However, based on a recent study, many mothers prevent their children from playing outdoors because they are worried about their children’s safety. Furthermore, 75 percent of children play on the streets while only 3 percent play on a public playground.
“Through the donation of these playgrounds, Safeguard wants to enable children to play in an environment safe from harm and disease-causing germs,” says Mr. Sotelo. In order to ensure that the playgrounds are sustainable and safe, Safeguard partnered with play experts Play Pilipinas.
“We at Play Pilipinas believe that every child should be given the chance to play, and to play in a safe and sound environment. Our advocacy is to provide low-cost, sustainable, and child-safe playgrounds for Filipino children. We are happy to have a partner in Safeguard that ensures kids will also have immediate access to soap and water after playing,” says Ms. Sigrid Perez, co-founder of Play Pilipinas.
Mr. Paul Perez, who co-founded Play Pilipinas with Sigrid, explains that the design of the playground differs per site, reflecting the character of the city. “For Taguig, we tried to mirror the emerging high-rises and so the playground has high and low spaces as well,” added Mr. Perez.
This new playground at Sitio Una, and 4 others to come, will represent not only the past 5 years of Global Handwashing Day, but also Safeguard’s continued commitment to promote proper hygiene and health education for many more years to come. “Handwashing education is and will continue to be the primary advocacy of Safeguard – not just on October 15, but every single day,” says Mr. Sotelo. Together with partners UNICEF and Fit for School, Procter & Gamble, through Safeguard, has reached over a million children in ten provinces in the country, teaching them the lifesaving habit of handwashing with soap.
Safeguard invites everyone to join our 5th year of Global Handwashing Day in the Philippines. Join the celebration by tweeting with the hashtag #Happy5thGHD. Watch out for more activities from Safeguard in the coming weeks. But, most importantly, don’t forget to wash your hands with Safeguard especially during the five critical moments!