The Department of Basic Education (DBE) has teamed up with the Lifebuoy soap brand to mark the occasion of today, 15th October, which is Global Handwashing Day.

The pair have orchestrated two events in the country today with the purpose of educating and reminding the public about personal hygiene.

While proper handwashing has always been important – Nelson Mandela himself highlighted this in 2003 – it’s even more important in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic still plaguing our country and the rest of the world.

“At the heart of this year’s commemoration is a simple intention: To remind people of one of the biggest lessons that we have learnt during the pandemic – the importance of washing hands… Since the first Global Handwashing Day in 2008, the Department has used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about the importance of washing hands, forge progressive collaborations and ensure safer schools. At its core the Day is designed to not only foster and support a global and local culture of washing hands with soap but also shine a spotlight on and raise awareness about its benefits,” reads a media release about the day.

The two events today were in Gauteng and the Northern Cape. Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Doctor Reginah Mhaule, attended the event in the latter province.

For those who want to keep up with Global Handwashing Day and see what else is happening around it in the country, the department has been using the #H4HandWashing hashtag to collate the posts on social media.

For those confused by the hashtag it is explained by UNICEF South Africa. When teaching children the alphabet the letter H should be associated with the word “handwashing”, to get kids learning about it as soon as possible.

While the Department of Basic Education, with Lifebuoy, is using today to educate the country about proper hygiene during the pandemic, other companies and organisations are using it to highlight the strides it has taken during this time. Dettol South Africa, for example, recently donated a large amount of resources to access water and cleaning products: