Minister De Weever encourages schools & students to take part in Americas Hand washing Contest;

Register by September 14

Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever is in full support of the initiative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) #TOUCHINGLIVES international school talent contest, which invites students from throughout the Americas to submit creative work that promotes hand washing, one of the most effective and low-cost measures for preventing disease and illness.


Registration for the contest will be open through September 14, 2013. Submissions may include videos, songs, illustrations, photographs, essays, or any other artistic expression that promotes hand washing. Finalist will be selected based on the creativity, impact and persuasiveness of their submissions.

Each winner will receive an official certificate from the PAHO/WHO office in his or her country of residence. In addition, winners’ schools will receive a special plaque. Winning entries will be promoted by PAHO/WHO through its website and social networks.

The contest is open to students ages 25 and under. Submission requirements are available at the contest rules homepage (

The deadline for submitting entries is September 14, and winders will be announced on October 15.

The purpose of the contest is to reinforce awareness about hand washing in schools throughout the Americas in advance of Global Hand Washing Day, which is celebrated every year on October 15.

This year, participating schools throughout the Americas will attempt to set a new Guinness World Record as part of the Global Hand washing Day celebrations.

In 2011, schools in the Americas set a Guinness World Record of 740,870 people simultaneously washing their hands in different locations of the region. The goal for 2013 is to mobilize more than one (1) million students to participate in Global Hand washing Day.

Hand washing with soap and water is one of the most effective and low-cost measures for preventing infectious diseases, which cause some 3.5 million deaths worldwide among children under age five, mainly from diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections.

According to data from the Global School-based Health Survey (GSHS), in some countries, more than 15% of students respond that they never or rarely washed their hands before eating during the previous 30 days.