Global handwashing day 2010 embraces social media

Global handwashing day, co-founded by Lifebuoy, is being celebrated for the third time on 14 October.

Small action, big impact

This year, to raise awareness of handwashing with soap around Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy will ask people the world over to pledge to wash their hands before eating.

The brand will make its call to action across a wide range of media, exploring the social-media territory of Facebook and Twitter for the first time too. And to encourage everyone to pledge, star spokespeople – Lifebuoy NGO partners, government ministers and celebrities – will lead the way in making theirs.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman has already made his pledge, which you can see on Facebook or click to watch below.

Power of the pledge

The pledge initiative offers a strong example of Unilever's commitment to 'small actions which make a big difference'. By pledging to wash our hands with soap before eating – whether the pledge is made on Facebook, in school, or at another public event – we can all play our part to stop the spread of germs that cause disease.

Remembering why

With diarrhoeal diseases still killing 200 children an hour in poor countries – more than Aids and malaria – the need for a worldwide movement in support of handwashing with soap is more vital than ever.

Research has shown that the simple action of washing hands with soap at key moments can reduce deaths from diarrhoea by almost 50%. That's why Lifebuoy has set its sights on getting a billion people to change their handwashing behaviour by 2015. And Global Handwashing Day provides a great opportunity to speed up this process.

This year, the event promises to be bigger than ever. It will be celebrated in over 80 countries, with more than 200 million people helping spread the message that handwashing with soap saves lives – through a wide range of creative global and local campaigns and activities.

Make a commitment

But first and foremost on the global agenda is Lifebuoy's pledge campaign. Go to to pledge to wash your hands with soap before eating today.

"Everyone who pledges is playing their part to help reduce the spread of germs that cause disease," says Myriam Sidibe, Lifebuoy Global Social Mission Manager.

"Once you've made your pledge, please encourage your colleagues, friends and family to do the same. It's a small action that will have a huge ripple effect on global health."

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