Global Handwashing Day: running for soap and water
Thursday 15 October is Global Handwashing Day. Because of the Covid-pandemic handwashing is more important than ever. Australian water advocate Mina Guli started a 7-day campaign to run for soap and water.
On Tuesday 13 October, the third day, the logged distance had already passed 10,000 km, meaning the delivery of 10,000 soap bars and 100 handwashing stations.
Water advocate Mina Guli made history in 2018 with her attempt to run 100 marathons in 100 days to raise awareness for the global water crises. She had to give up after 62 days but never stopped to advocate the importance of water conservation.
The many marathons through deserts on seven continents, taught her about the resilience of the human spirit, the power of determination when people are inspired to achieve something. No real surprise that she initiated #Sweat4soap, a runners campaign on the occasion of her 50th anniversary and this year’s Global Handwashing Day.
Soap and water
For every kilometre that is logged on the special website, a bar of soap will be donated by the sponsors.
In addition, non-for-profit organisation Aqua for All joined the initiative and donates a specially developed Maji water bucket for every 100 km logged.
The Maji-bucket has been developed by a Ghanaian non-profit social enterprise, Project Maji, that currently operates 63 water kiosks in Ghana and Kenya. The bucket was invented in response to the unfolding pandemic. It has no touching points because it is foot operated. Aqua for All will finance Project Maji to set up handwashing facilities in marginalized communities.
First line of defence
The running campaign is supported by the Dutch government. Special Dutch water envoy Henk Ovink emphasises the importance of Global Handwashing Day for worldwide awareness. Ovink hopes that the campaign also catches the attention of politicians and financers worldwide.
‘The Covid pandemic shows that WASH is the first line of defence when it comes to health and economic recovery. The trillions of dollars that have been budgeted to fight Covid and to recover economies, should be spend wisely’, said Ovink.
‘We need integrated policies to achieve all Sustainable Development Goals by 2030', the envoy continues. 'It would be a waste of investments, time and capacity to implement off-the-shelve water projects: outdated and often stupid and single-focused infrastructure that only makes us more vulnerable and worsen the global water crises.'
'Now is the time to invest in the future: inclusive, resilient and sustainable!’
According to Ovink the awareness for the importance of WASH in the fight against Covid, may trigger politicians and financial institutions to spend Covid recovery funds on plans that meet multiple goals with a sustainable impact.
Get inspired and read the full interview with Mina Guli on the #Sweat4soap initiative on the website of Aqua for All.