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Global Handwashing Day: Changing Behaviors through Song and Dance

Logo for the Global Handwashing Day

Do you know how to properly wash your hands? Through song and dance, people from different parts of the world are teaching others the right way to wash their hands to promote health. October 15, 2011, is Global Handwashing Day, and with the slogan “Clean Hands Save Lives”, it puts the spotlight on a simple action that helps decrease child mortality due to preventable diseases.

Hip hop Grammy winners Chocquibtown from Colombia, tell children when to wash their hands and how to do it.

This group of young people in a rural community in Honduras also use Hip Hop to sing about the importance of handwashing in this video aired on local television.

In this next BBC world trust ad for handwashing in Cambodia, a young boy who is excluded from childrens’ games  until he washes his hands asks a very important question: what if he doesn't have soap? The answer? Just use ash.

Many different organizations are promoting handwashing in different parts of the world.  In the next videos we see the Red Cross’ efforts in Haiti to promote handwashing through songs in Creole, Food for the Hungry in Mozambique shows us a handwashing station that uses a gallon plastic bottle as a water source and shares the song Mozi's Water, which lasts as long as handwashing should. Foundations Surtigas and Promigas in Colombia have empowered children to express themselves through writing, painting, poetry and singing, with some of the children composing pieces on handwashing and singing in the traditional regional style of Vallenato.

This video from Mexico, bases itself on UNICEF's 2009 Japanese Handwashing Song and names the steps so they are easier to remember: the mountain, the guitar, the motorcycle, the snake, the butterfly and “kamehameha” show that handwashing is certainly much more than just rubbing palms together!

Beyonce's Single Ladies is used as the soundtrack to go through the 5 different steps of handwashing for health practitioners, as shown in this video and dance by Public Health students in Mexico. First removing rings, watches and bracelets, then regulating water flow, wetting hands and using enough soap, washing backs, fronts, sides and tips of fingers and then drying hands with paper towels which are used to close the faucet afterwards.

Health practitioners in Iligan City, Philippines also made their own choreographed handwashing video to the beat of Jai Ho, from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.

Let's go wash our hands!

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