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Global Handwashing Day celebrated in 700 schools across Angola

© UNICEF Angola/2008/Hvass
A student at the 11 de Novembro school washes her hands with soap as part of the first-ever Global Handwashing Day in Angola.
LUANDA, Angola, 17 October 2008 – On the first-ever Global Handwashing Day, 15 October, students and teachers from more than 700 participating schools across Angola engaged in symbolic acts of handwashing and listened to government leaders speak out about the importance of using water and soap.

The official tune for the festivities was ‘Wash your hands! Wash your hands! Wash your hands with soap!’ by the young Angolan singer Pedrito do Bie.

In Luanda, Minister of Education Burity da Silva presided over a handwashing ceremony at the Dom Bosco School in the populous municipality of Sambizanga.

“It is crucial that teachers and parents – and anyone else responsible for the teaching and upbringing of children – carry forward the message of handwashing with soap. Many sectors have been involved in preparing this day, and we must ensure that the effort to promote good hygiene continues to be an all-out effort,” said Mr. da Silva.

‘A good habit’
Also attending the launch of Global Handwashing Day was UNICEF Representative in Angola Angela Kearney.

“Today only marks the beginning of a major push to promote handwashing with soap as a natural and necessary habit – in schools, in the family, in institutions. We know it can save children’s lives so we cannot afford to take it lightly,” she declared.

In Malanje town, the capital of Malanje province, children and teachers at the 11 de Novembro school played host to a loud and lively handwashing ceremony. By 9 a.m., the schoolyard was teeming with children singing along to ‘Wash your Hands! Wash your Hands! Wash your Hands with Soap!’.

Malanje Vice-Governor Gaspar Neto spoke at the event, encouraging children to “take the message on handwashing seriously so that one day, you can pass it on as a good habit to your own children.”

Countrywide celebration
In the southern provinces of Huila, Namibe and Cunene, Global Handwashing Day was celebrated in select primary schools with the participation of provincial education authorities. In Huambo and Benguela, in the south-central part of Angola, children put on a play to mark the occasion. In the eastern province of Moxico, students serenaded their teachers and local authorities at an official commemoration.

In all, the first Global Handwashing Day in Angola was a countrywide celebration made possible through the work and dedication of the Ministry of Education, as well as other ministries, in collaboration with UNICEF, Oxfam, the ADPP development partnership and others.

National print and broadcast media, as well as news agencies, had an ample presence at the ceremonies, carrying the message of handwashing with soap to viewers and listeners in all corners of Angola.



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