Promoting Hygiene

Children Proudly Show Their Lathered Hands Before Rinsing
On Global Handwashing Day, children proudly show their lathered hands before rinsing.

According to UNICEF, approximately 800,000 children under the age of 5 die every year from diarrhea. Providing clean water and sanitation are not enough. Promoting better hygiene is an important way to ensure that these changes have positive health outcomes over the long term. As such, USAID is working to increase the correct and consistent adoption of three key hygiene behaviors:

  • Handwashing with soap at critical times;
  • Safe disposal and management of excreta; and
  • Improving household water storage, handling and treatment.

To help change behaviors at the community and household level, USAID works with local governments, the private sector and communities to foster institutional and policy support, develop targeted messages, increase demand and strengthen the production and marketing of hygiene products and services. USAID has also adopted community-based approaches to behavior change, such as working through health and agriculture extension services, to support communities transitioning from open defecation.

Specific projects include:

  • USAID’s WASHplus project aims to reduce diarrheal diseases through the promotion of key hygiene behaviors. WASHplus builds upon the successes of previous USAID programs, including the Hygiene Improvement Project, to foster partnerships and innovation, integrate WASH into existing programs and build institutional support for hygiene improvement at-scale.  

Last updated: March 07, 2014

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