Gulyalek Soltanova, UNICEF Turkmenistan Communication Officer
“I wash my hands five times a day”, “And I wash seven”, exclaimed third grade students of school 37 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan at the learning session organized by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF on the occasion of the Global Handwashing Day today. On 15-16 October 2020 UNICEF is visiting eight schools in the capital and the neighboring Ahal province to raise awareness of children on the importance of handwashing and to remind them why, when and how to wash hands to protect their health.
Throughout this two-day campaign, UNICEF will have reached around one thousand primary school children. As part of campaign, UNICEF will also distribute posters on handwashing to all 1,868 schools nationwide reaching around 1.3 million children.
“We need to wash our hands after we play with pets. We also need to wash hands before we eat a meal and after we play a ball,” said Chynar Tangylyjova, student of school 89 in Ashgabat during the session on identifying when children needed to wash their hands.
“There are germs in our hands invisible to us, so we need to wash our hands even if they seem to be clean,” said Muhammet Serdarow from school 89, who played the game “Invisible Germs”.
“I wash my hands every day upon return from school,” proudly noted Rahym Sapayew from the same school.
UNICEF has designed the learning sessions and trained young people – SDG Ambassadors – who interactively facilitated the sessions employing various games to demonstrate how children can pick up germs and how to get rid of them by properly washing hands. One of the video resources used at the sessions is the animation on handwashing produced earlier by UNICEF in partnership with the State Committee on TV and Radio Broadcasting and Cinematography of Turkmenistan and distributed to all schools in the country along with other animated videos on hygiene practices.
Maya Amanmyradova, Young SDG Ambassador for Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation was one of the youth leading the sessions and sharing her knowledge on handwashing with children. “My goal is to educate children and communities about adequate sanitation and right hygiene practices. I am excited as well as my other fellow SDG Ambassadors about this opportunity to partner with UNICEF to deliver key messages on handwashing to kids,” said Maya.
“Global Handwashing Day is a great opportunity to reach out to children and remind them, and us all, of the importance of washing hands to prevent the spread of disease,” said Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan. “We look forward to building more partnerships with national ministries, such as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry and other stakeholders to continue raising awareness on hygiene practices especially at this critical time,” Ms. Weigand noted. /// UNICEF Turkmenistan, 15 Oct