Home Uttarakhand GIWA holds Global Handwashing Day Webinar

GIWA holds Global Handwashing Day Webinar

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By Our Staff Reporter
Rishikesh, 15 Oct: On the occasion of Global Handwashing Day, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), in a partnership with UNICEF, together with Parmarth Niketan, hosted a special webinar to raise awareness around and reignite action for handwashing. The theme of this year’s webinar was “Our Future is at Hand — Let’s Move Forward Together”. Hand washing with soap is regarded as one of the most important elements of infection control behaviour and activities. However, it is often the case that even when people do have knowledge of good hygiene behavior, they lack the soap, safe water and washing facilities they need to make positive changes to protect themselves and their community.
The webinar was inaugurated by UP Governor Anandiben Patel and Swami Chidanand Saraswati, Founder, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, President, Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, Nilesh Kumar, Chargé d’Affaires for High Commission, New Delhi.
The other dignitaries and faith leaders who participated included Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Jal Shakti; Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji, Secretary General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA); Yasumasa Kimura, UNICEF Deputy Representative for Programmes, India Country Office; Imam Umer Ahmed Illyasi, President, All India Imam Organisation; Father Paul Moonjely, Executive Director, Caritas India; Sadhvi Shri Shilapi, Veerayatan, Kutch, Gujarat (Jain Tradition); Sardar Paramjit Singh Chandhok, Chairman of Delhi Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (Sikh Tradition); Nicolas Osbert, Chief, Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) at UNICEF India; Bhikkhu Sanghasena, Founder, Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre (MIMC); Mufti Nasihur Rahman, known as the ‘Swachhta Maulana, Assam.
Governor Patel, while inaugurated the webinar, said, “It is very important to motivate children to wash their hands. Washing hands is key to good health and teachers as well as parents have a very important contribution to make in this. Cleanliness can be possible only if there is water in schools, so there should be a system of hand washing in all schools. I thank Swamii Chidanand Maharaj and GIWA, Parmarth Niketan, for making arrangements for handwashing and toilets in 100 schools.”
Minister Prahlad Singh Patel emphasised, “Prime Minister Modi also speaks about the importance of cleanliness which is core to a healthy and happy life.”
Swami Chidanand Saraswati added, “India has a large number of children suffering from impaired growth. It is estimated by scientists that children are becoming victims of stunting due to open defecation, unclean hands and unclean water. Impaired growth is a severe form of malnutrition. India accounts for 33 percent of the world’s children affected by stunting. So, in addition to raising awareness about washing hands with clean water and soap it is critical as faith leaders and faith based organisations to provide education and infrastructure to ensure WASH in schools and in homes.”
Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati joined from abroad adding, “Almost 2 million children die due to diarrhoeal diseases and about 20% of children die due to respiratory diseases. These diseases and deaths can be prevented by proper handwashing.”
The webinar was moderated and anchored by Global Interfaith WASH Alliance’s Director of Project Implementation & Communication, Ganga Nandini.