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Every year, we single out three days to draw attention to the issues addressed by WASH, the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.
Global Handwashing Day at school - Benin © Harald van der Hoek
22 March – World Water Day
In 1992, the United Nations designated 22 March as annual World Water Day. This international day draws attention to the importance of freshwater and its sustainable management by highlighting a specific aspect each year, such as ‘Women and water’, ‘Water for cities’ or ‘Water and energy’, to name but a few of the past themes. Awareness activities are organised in our partner countries and here in Belgium we help coordinate the ‘Walks for water’ campaign, bringing thousands of students into the streets marching in solidarity with the millions of people who still need to cover many miles every day to fetch water. But Protos believes more can be done on World Water Day and wishes to encourage and help others to create their own campaign around 22 March. Care to add your drop to the pond and organise your own event? Then click www.voordrinkwater.be.
15 October – Global Handwashing Day
In order to reduce child mortality, 15 October was proclaimed Global Handwashing Day in 2008. Indeed, washing hands with soap reduces the risk of diarrhoea by no less than 47%. In countries such as Haiti and Benin, Protos acts as prime promoter of World Handwashing Day. In Belgium also we create an annual awareness event! More information on this issue can be found on our theme site www.allemaalwash.be.
19 November – World Toilet Day
World Toilet Day, an international event started in 2001 and observed annually on 19 November, was formally recognised by the United Nations in 2013. Today, one third of the world population - or 2.5 billion people - does not have proper sanitation and 1 billion people still defecate in the open. This allows disease to spread rapidly and unchecked, as human faeces are a fertile breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Half of all girls worldwide go to schools where no (clean) toilets are available. Because of this lack of privacy, many of them stop attending school when they enter puberty.