Participants of the SPC EU-GCCA: PSIS workshop try out the new tippy tap display. Photo: KAPIII

Hand washing with soap will save lives

Participants of the SPC EU-GCCA: PSIS workshop try out the new tippy tap display. Photo: KAPIII

Participants of the SPC EU-GCCA: PSIS workshop try out the new tippy tap display. Photo: KAPIII

Hand washing with soap is the most effective & inexpensive way to prevent diarrheal & acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths. Yet, despite its lifesaving potential, handwashing with soap is seldom practiced and difficult to promote. Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.

In Kiribati the Infant Mortality Rate is 47/1000 live births, which is the highest in the Pacific region. Hand washing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent.

On Wednesday 15 October 2014, Kiribati will be joining hands with over 200 million people in over 100 countries around the world to celebrate Global Hand Washing Day with the theme ‘Clean Hands Save Lives’. The event will be held in Bairiki Square in South Tarawa from 11am to 3pm in the presence of Secretaries, Diplomats, Heads o UN agencies, members of community and school students.

Global Hand Washing Day celebrations has been organized in a joint effort  by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU), Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development, Ministry of Education, Office of Te Beretitenti, Red Cross, Water and Sanitation Projects, KIRIWATSAN I, Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII),  SPC- EU GCCA: PSIS and the South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Sector Project (STSISP).

The public is encouraged to join this celebration so that awareness and understanding of the importance of hand washing with soap can be practiced by all.

The event will include:
–          Demonstration of handwashing with soap
–          School event on Global Hand Washing theme
–          Drama show from Red Cross
–          Games for children
–          Floor show by KCCN (Kiribati Children Campaigners Network).

About the projects


The Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) is a five-year climate change adaptation project under the Office of the President. The objective of KAPIII is to improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure.

Freshwater supply projects include providing support to the MPWU and PUB; the installation of rainwater harvesting works and infiltration gallery works in North and South Tarawa; and the detection and repair of leaks in the PUB’s pipe system from Buota to Betio.

KAPIII is funded via the World Bank GEF LDCF Trust Fund with co-financing from the governments of Australia and Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery partnership, as well as in-kind from the Government of Kiribati.


The Water and Sanitation project in the Outer Islands of the Republic of Kiribati Phase I (KIRIWATSAN I) is funded by EU, implemented by the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities with technical assistance from UNICEF.

It involves 70 communities in the 16 Gilbert Islands. The project aims to empower people by engaging them to achieve better access to safe drinking water, adequate and socially acceptable sanitation facilities, combined with an effective education/awareness raising campaign to improve their understanding of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues and to encourage behavioural changes, especially starting with children, as agents of change.


The South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Program (STSISP) aims to improve the health of communities on South Tarawa by rehabilitating and upgrading existing sanitation infrastructure. STSISP will improve access to sanitation services from 64 per cent of South Tarawa’s population in 2010 to 80 per cent by 2018. 

Rehabilitation of current infrastructure will limit contamination of groundwater reserves, which are currently polluted by pit latrines and poorly managed septic tanks.

The Asian Development Bank is the lead agency on this program.


The Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (GCCA: PSIS) project is a three-year project funded by the European Union and executed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC). The overall objective of the GCCA: PSIS project is to support the governments of nine smaller Pacific Island States, namely Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Tonga and Tuvalu, in their efforts to tackle the adverse effects of climate change. The purpose of the project is to promote long-term strategies and approaches to adaptation planning and pave the way for more effective and coordinated aid delivery to address climate change at the national and regional level.