Clean Hands for Healthy Futures

Clean Hands for Healthy Futures
June 26, 2013 Callie Daniels-Howell

by Valerie Matron

Valerie Matron is Timmy’s Medical Programs Coordinator in Quito, Ecuador. In addition to her work with Timmy’s medical teams, she strives to cultivate relationships with our partner Tierra Nueva and a number of other health and community focused organizations to improve Timmy’s service capacity. She has been instrumental in launching new public health projects, including the recent hand-washing campaign described below. Click here to read more about Timmy’s public health trips in Ecuador.


Public health and education projects have become a growing focus for Timmy as we seek out new ways to enhance and expand our programming. Sometimes even the simplest instructions on hygiene and personal care can have a huge impact on people that have little to no access to outside healthcare services. Learning how to properly wash your hands with soap, for instance, is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent disease.

In May, students and volunteers from the University of Colorado medical team joined Timmy’s staff in an exciting hand-washing campaign in one of our adopted communities near Quito, Ecuador. With the support of Unilever—which donated 1,000 mini-Rexona soaps and 50 educational posters for classrooms and bathrooms in the community—the team helped to lead hand-washing demonstrations that showed local children the importance of clean hands and the promise of healthy futures.

Below is a photo essay of the day’s activities. This event was just a small part of a much larger campaign—Global Handwashing Day—an ongoing advocacy project that Unilever launched in 2008. Leaders from government, nonprofit, and public organizations in more than 45 countries took part in the most recent campaign in 2012, and Timmy is looking forward to continuing our clean hands movement when the celebration rolls around again on October 15th, 2013!

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Photo 1: The kids are eager to demonstrate how to hand wash properly. What’s the first step? Open the (imaginary) faucet! 



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Photo 2: One of the instructors uses fun techniques to teach the kids the importance of hand washing. Her lessons are adapted to different age groups. Here, a small boy volunteers to demonstrate his hand washing abilities to his classmates.

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Photo 3: Here are the important steps for being Germ Free! (Steps 3 and 4 are often overlooked by children and adults) 1. Rinse your hands 2. Scrub with soap 3. Clean under your nails 4. Scrub towards your elbows 5. Rinse again (use only the amount of water necessary!) 6. Dry your hands

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Photo 4: Valerie Matron and Allison Strauss, a Colorado University student leader, join kids to show that clean hands are so IN!

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Photo 5: Colorado University student leaders Allison Strauss and Allison Quelch hand out soap to nearly 100 students from the school Transito Amaguaña. 



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Photo 6: After receiving their personal soap and hand-washing lesson, some of the girls rush over behind the classroom to practice hand washing together. 



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Photo 7: Voila! The end result! 



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Photo 8: Many of the children in this community are child laborers or at high risk of entering the work force at an early age. Working alongside its partner Fundacion Tierra Nueva, Timmy Global Health began to provide medical services to this vulnerable population in January 2012. 


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Photo 9: Unilever representative, Bernarda Paredes, joins in the fun to help demonstrate how clean hands happen.

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Photo 10: A young participant gets his hands wet as part of the first step of the hand-washing process.

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