Global Handwashing Day 2021 - How are we putting handwashing within reach for students and teachers? A spotlight on Madagascar.

Global Handwashing Day 2021 - How are we putting handwashing within reach for students and teachers? A spotlight on Madagascar.

The Madagascar national and local government is working with the private sector and development partners to help students return to school safely in a new normal.

Antananarivo, Oct 14, 2021 - Achieving a landmark procurement of nearly 40,000 handwashing stations for schools, Madagascar is leading the way to a new normal in hand hygiene. What’s a better day to celebrate this excellent example of leadership in school hygiene than Global Handwashing Day? Today, we get a glimpse of what it looks like to have access to handwashing within reach, not just in bathrooms, but at all key times that handwashing is needed. 

Kids playing on the playground at EPP Antsahabe. Image credit: HappyTap

We’re visiting the public primary school of Antsahabe in the Urban Commune of Antananarivo, Antananarivo District. It has approximately 271 students and 6 classrooms. That means, especially when combined with sinks in bathrooms, portable next-generation handwashing stations help to put handwashing within reach for every student immediately, not years from now.

Can you tell the difference between these two images? Hint: one includes convenient access to handwashing. Image credit: HappyTap

“Despite the difficulty to comply with Covid19 prevention measures with regard to physical distancing, we did our best to ensure all students wear masks correctly and remind them often about handwashing practices. Having something easy like a HappyTap for handwashing in the classroom while keeping things neat and tidy really helps”, says Razanajaona Adéline, School Director of EPP Antsahabe.

The evidence base on handwashing is clear, and is intuitive: information and behavior change campaigns work the best when complemented by access to convenient, attractive handwashing facilities. While school staff and teachers work hard to comply with Covid19 prevention policies, we can help them be successful by putting practical but attractive handwashing facilities within reach. 

With support from the Ministry of National Education (MEN), the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (MEAH), UNICEF completed the procurement for a variety of handwashing stations that would alter the classroom and schoolyard environment in 18,797 public schools to provide access to handwashing stations within reach at critical times for handwashing. 

“It has been exciting to work in partnership with UNICEF, MEN, and MEAH to provide simple solutions in Madagascar that are not only helpful now to prevent covid19 infections, but also change the classroom setting so that handwashing is part of a routine. My hope is that over time, this routine becomes a lifelong habit for students and adults” - Mevazara Rakotoson, partnerships manager for HappyTap. 


Meva Rakotoson is Partnerships Manager, Africa Region, at HappyTap.

About HappyTap: HappyTap is a social enterprise on a mission to build the new normal for handwashing. Today, people are asked to wash hands at more times and in more places, but nearly all the sinks are located in the bathroom. The new normal will require that sinks for handwashing are within reach - no more going down the hall, turning left, and then finding the third door on the right. More at 

Contact: meva [at] (English, French, Malagasy)

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The new normal for hygiene

Putting handwashing within reach