10/15/10- October 15th is Global Handwashing Day. Activities will be taking place around the world today in promotion of handwashing, a celebration of one of the simplest and most effective health interventions.

Handwashing with soap before eating or preparing meals and after using the bathroom could have major impacts on health worldwide by reducing cases of diarrhea, pneumonia and other infections. Studies also show that handwashing by birth attendants during delivery significantly increased newborn survival rates by up to 44%. Such a simple action with major health benefits!

We're are promoting handwashing among children and teens through several of our Kids to Kids projects. Somos Promotoritos ("we are little health promotors") in the Dominican Republic and Aprendiendo a Vivir Bien ("learning to live well") are both training kids to teach other kids as well as adults about the importance of washing their hands!

Also, several projects supported by our World Connect Grants program are working to increase handwashing in their communities in their own way by ensuring people have access to soap and water. Project Pilas in El Salvador is bringing potable water to people's homes in a rural village through the construction of pilas (outdoor water storage centers) for handwashing and daily activities like washing dishes and clothes. Cooperative Moving Forward in Rwanda is also looking to increase rates of handwashing in their community by creating a locally-made soap.

To learn more about the benefits of handwashing, check out this fact sheet.