Could you stay clean and healthy if you didn’t have clean water and a decent toilet?

What if no-one had explained to you the importance of washing your hands with soap after going to the toilet and before eating? Keeping yourself and your home clean should be easy, everyday tasks. But when water is scarce the everyday becomes impossible.

Around the world, poor hygiene is making children sick, and keeping them out of school. It's putting mothers and babies at risk in hospitals. And it's stopping young women staying safe and well on their period. This shouldn’t be normal.

The magic of handwashing

From home-cooked meals to hospital visits, the simple act of washing your hands with soap can help keep you healthy and stop disease spreading.

In fact, washing our hands with soap can cut cases of diarrhoea almost in half, saving hundreds of lives every single day. And it can have a positive effect on children’s education…

A recipe for health

Food is so important for helping children grow up strong and healthy, but if it's contaminated it can have the opposite effect.

Around 70 percent of cases of diarrhoea are thought to be linked to poor food hygiene. So washing your hands before preparing or eating food, as well as cleaning equipment and ingredients, are all vital in stopping sickness spreading.

In communities like Sablogo in Burkina Faso, clean water means they can now grow more crops. Moustapha, a water monitor in the village, knows clean water is key for both producing food and making sure it's safe for his family to eat.

"Safe water is very useful for food and nutrition. If water is clean and you use it to cook the food, the food also will be clean for your health. But if water is not clean and you use it to make food it’s like putting or adding dirtiness in your food. And then, if you eat dirty food, it causes diseases."
Moustapha, Burkina Faso
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We know through experience that there's no one-size-fits-all approach, and simply explaining the importance of good hygiene isn't enough to make lasting change happen. That's why we listen to people to understand what really drives them to take up new hygiene habits. 

From here to maternity

London Midwife, mum of four and Instagram star Clemmie Hooper, along with her husband Simon, visited Madagascar to see just how vital clean water is when it comes to keeping health centres clean and safe.

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WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

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