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Global Handwashing Day in Burkina Faso

Published on: 19/10/2020

IRC Burkina urges people to wash their hands with soap regularly.

Global Handwashing Day 2020

Global Handwashing Day is celebrated on 15 October each year. This day is dedicated to raising awareness among people to wash their hands with soap to prevent infectious diseases. IRC Burkina and its partners organised a series of public activities as part of this celebration on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 October 2020 in Ouagadougou.

The celebration of Global Handwashing Day in 2020 took place within the context of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to being a means to prevent Covid-19, handwashing with soap helps prevent diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid fever, and conjunctivitis. For this reason, IRC with the support of its British partners UK aid and Unilever has been implementing the Clean Hands, Good Health campaign in Burkina since August 2020.

"On October 15, 2020, we reached about 10,000 people by making them practise handwashing in the city of Ouagadougou at primary and secondary schools, markets and yaars (small markets)," said Mr. Salif Sanfo, one of IRC's local partners, referring to the first day's results.

To close the celebration in style, a popular cross-country race was organised on October 16, 2020, in Ouagadougou. Many students from the National Police School, Bambata High School and the population participated in this cross-country, after an aerobics session, at the esplanade of the Stadium of August 4. In a friendly atmosphere, they started at the esplanade of the Stadium of August 4 ran round the cycle roundabout back to the starting point.

Aerobics session in Ouagadougou

Aerobics session in Ouagadougou

At the ceremony, also a donation was presented consisting of handwashing devices. One hundred (100) handwashing devices were made available to the press as a thank you for the awareness-raising work they carry out on a daily basis to prevent diseases caused by dirty hands. Another thirteen (13) handwashing devices were for the Regional Departments of Culture and six (6) for the Office of Infrastructure and Stadium Management.

Goodwill Ambassadors from left to right, Bassératou Kindo, Salif Sanfo, and Ibrahim Sidibé

Goodwill Ambassadors from left to right, Bassératou Kindo, Salif Sanfo, and Ibrahim Sidibé

Another highlight of the celebration was the installation of the Goodwill Ambassadors for water, sanitation and hygiene. They are blogger Bassératou Kindo, communicator and cultural operator Salif Sanfo, and humorist Ibrahim Sidibé alias Pizaroro. They each received a gold medal for their advocacy and awareness-raising efforts.

IRC chose these three ambassadors primarily for reasons of efficiency. "We believe they will find the best words to convince the general public, because we as experts sometimes can't make ourselves understood because of the language we use. Our ambassadors are all very well known to the Burkinabé public," explained IRC Burkina Country Director Just Hermann Nansi.

IRC Burkina Country Director, Mr. Juste Hermann NANSI (middle)

IRC Burkina Country Director, Mr. Juste Hermann NANSI (middle)

When people see Salif Sanfo, they recognise him as this great figure from the artistic and cultural world, while everyone wonders what IRC means. Everyone knows Baseratou Kindo from social media and knows about her commitment to social progress. Ibrahim Sidibé, the humorist and talented animator, needs no introduction. It is because of their public notoriety to raise awareness that we have appointed them as Goodwill Ambassadors," says Nansi. He believes that the population must imperatively maintain handwashing, this salutary gesture, simple and accessible to everyone. It was massively adopted when the country was at the height of the Covid-19 emergency, but it has decreased after the lockdown period. To continue raising awareness, Mr. Nansi urged all participants at the celebration to be daily ambassadors for handwashing in their communities.

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