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COVID-19: Handwashing with Soap – Clean Hands Save Lives

Updated: May 5, 2020

A 30-minute handwashing training was conducted in the Amanase Community of rural Ghana. Keeping social distancing restrictions in mind, 50 community members were trained and a bar of soap per household was distributed to encourage handwashing. The training was a result of joint fundraising by Project Maji and Proof of Impact.

Adequate hand hygiene requires a set of essentials: clean water, soap and hygiene awareness. While access to clean water and soap is a must, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 outbreak, knowledge truly is power. There is an urgent need to emphasize the life-saving practice of hand washing to wash off infectious germs and curb the human to human transmission of the virus.

Responding to this need, we joined hands with Proof of Impact, a like-minded social enterprise that unites organizations and donors in combatting COVID-19 through verified, community-based efforts. After funding for the training was secured through our joint efforts, we rolled out a hand washing training in the Amanase Community in rural Ghana. In light of the ongoing social distancing restrictions on gatherings of more than 25 people, participants were divided in 5 groups of 10 community members each. A total of 50 community members participated in this exercise, who were trained to pass on their knowledge to their households and the wider community.

A capacity-building approach was adopted to ensure by the end of the session, each trainee was equipped to train their respective households on proper hand washing. In addition, a bar of soap per household was distributed amongst participants to encourage hand hygiene among families.

The Project Maji hand washing training is focused on teaching key steps to proper hand washing. The 30-minute training is designed in line with a participatory approach whereby our trainers encourage questions and comments to keep the participants engaged. Participants are also encouraged to volunteer step by step demonstrations of hand washing by the end of each session.

To ensure engagement, we use colorful visual aid, informative Project Maji flyers and posters, such as the one below. We also showed a handwashing video on the tablets we bring to visualize proper techniques, using the latest technology.

WASH trainings to alter community hygiene practices can save lives. Now that the official lock down and movement restrictions have been lifted in Ghana and Kenya, more of these trainings will be rolled out. However, the threat is still imminent, and the right balance needs to be struck between raising hygiene awareness and ensuring the safety of our teams on the ground as well as the local communities.



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