WASH United, the international social impact organization that “combines the power of sports superstars, interactive games and positive communication to excite people about sanitation and practicing good hygiene” just wrapped up its 28-day campaign dedicated to shedding more light on menstruation and Menstrual Hygiene Mangement (MHM):


May #MENSTRAVAGANZA Day 28: BIG NEWS! Today wraps up our 28-day campaign dedicated to shedding more light on menstruation & MHM. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT! WASH United, together with amazing global partners, announces that it will make May 28th a globally-recognised Menstrual Hygiene Day. Will you join us in supporting #MHDay?

(src: WASH United FB page)

Yes, of course! MHM is such an important and often still neglected hygiene issue that we urgently need to keep the conversations going – beyond this 28-day campaign. Online and offline.

Please also be reminded that the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) dedicated a category on its forum to this matter where professional conversations on everything around MHM are already taking place. A few scientists and activists exchanging ideas online certainly won’t be enough, which is why this idea of celebrating May 28th as an international Menstravangaza Day is a smart move.

What I really like about WASH United (the link opens their very active Facebook group) and why their work matters to me: our target group (the people) usually doesn’t pay attention to scientists, but they do hear what superstars say. Remember Angelina Jolie’s preventive double mastectomy? Right. Now, if we can achieve a similar open conversation on MHM the way we are now already talking about (the lack of decent) toilets or mastectomy, then we may have achieved more than what could probably be done via the usual top-down approaches in dev aid.

Let’s put the “men” in Menstravaganza!

P.S.: Did you know there’s an online museum on Menstruation? It’s called “Museum of Menstruation & Women’s Health“. Oh, and the Menstrupedia is also very informative!

Global Handwashing Day 2012

Only one third of all people wash their hands with soap after using the toilet or before
eating. The consequences are fatal. Each day, about 3,600 children under five die from diarrhea.

Diarrheal diseases in children are still the second most common cause of death. Medical studies show that regular hand washing with soap can prevent half of all diarrheal.

In Europe alone, the annually recuring influenze epidemics or severe virus epidemics could be tackled through improved hygiene. The EHEC epidemic in Germany in 2011, or the recently imported Noro virus from China which paralyzed many students in German primary schools, clearly demonstrate the need for regular handwashing with soap. It’s so easy, yet often neglected.

GTO World Hand Wash Day 2012

To raise awareness for the need of regular hand washing with soap, the German Toilet Organization e.V. will today celebrate Global Handwashing Day 2012 at Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin – along with students from four schools in Berlin. The art installations by the students will show the importance of hand washing with soap and also demonstrate why toilets are an integral part of healthy living.

Around the world, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries. Global Handwashing is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, and individuals.

So, what is your local community doing on Global Handwashing Day 2012?

Global Handwashing Day

Today is Global Handwashing Day!

GHD Wallpaper1

“The guiding vision of Global Handwashing Day is a local and global culture of handwashing with soap. Although people around the world wash their hands with water, very few wash their hands with soap at the critical occasions.”

There even is a dedicated website for this cause with further information on why we actually need a Global Handwashing Day:

“Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote. (…) A vast change in handwashing behavior is critical to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds by 2015.”

Have you already washed your hands with soap today?