Top Resources for Global Handwashing Day

Beth Donkin Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Global Handwashing Day takes place on the 15th of October. This year it comes with added prominence in our calendar. Coronavirus has heightened the importance of handwashing across the world. In the humanitarian and development sector, handwashing has long been central to disease prevention and programme design.  

In this blog, we’ve compiled some of our most popular resources on everything handwashing. From tools and guidelines for practitioners, blogs for those who want a snapshot of learning and resources for those who want to find out more.


Lest we forget: Why investments in hygiene, sanitation and water are key to fighting COVID-19 is written by Muyatwa Sitali, Head of Country Engagement at Sanitation and Water For All. He shares why investing in public health is key in tackling coronavirus in the long term.

Two blogs by Dr Foyeke Tolani who has 20 years’ experience in public health, humanitarian and development work:
12 tips to sustain hygiene practices now and post coronavirus in emergencies
How to prevent coronavirus through handwashing and working with communities

Recently re-released considering the coronavirus context, Ruth Mayne and Thomas Dunmore Rodriguez share what really influences our behaviour when it comes to handwashing. Check out the beautiful illustration.

Vanita Suneja of WaterAid recently wrote a brief history of handwashing on From Poverty to Power’s blog space.

Tools, Guidelines & Resources

Why is handwashing important? This technical briefing note covers the basics on the relevance of handwashing in disease prevention as well as practicalities around handwashing promotion.

Oxfam’s technical briefing note on a range of different handwashing stations particularly for communal handwashing, including in refugee/IDP settings.

Oxfam has its own handwashing stand. Foyeke Tolani and Mary A Omondi have written the guidelines on how to set up, use and maintain communal handwashing stations.

Mum’s Magic Hands by Oxfam, Unilever’s Lifebuoy soap and Unilever’s Chief Sustainability Officer. Together they have produced Programme Resources which include materials to run meetings with groups (storyboards and images of handwashing with soap) and visuals for making posters.

During the current pandemic, things move fast. This guide from Mum’s Magic Hands is for rapid implementation of handwashing promotion in emergencies.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has a wealth of health promotion materials including stickers, posters and social media graphics to promote handwashing.


How can radio change our behaviour? This case study looks at how the power of radio influenced hygiene and handwashing practice in Turkana in Kenya: SWIFT Story of Sustainable Change: Improving hygiene behaviour through local radio broadcasts in Turkana, Kenya.

Handwashing Compendium for Low Resource Settings: A Living Document: a living publication from the Institute of Development Studies on accessible low-cost handwashing facilities.


The Global Handwashing Partnership is running the Handwashing Thursday Series which will take place between October 22nd and December 17th 2020. The series will present best practices and new concepts to improve the uptake of handwashing.


Beth Donkin