In the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, access to clean water and handwashing has never been more important to help keep our families and communities safe from disease. While access to clean water and sanitation for the vast majority of Australians can be taken for granted, almost half of the world’s population, 3.6 billion people, lack safe sanitation. One in three people - 2.3 billion people – lack basic handwashing facilities at home. Almost half of the schools around the world do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water, and every day, over 700 children under age 5 die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene.
In support of Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2021, our small team at the Goyder Institute have committed to run and walk at least 100 km between 12-17 October 2021 as part of #Sweat4Soap. This initiative helps raise awareness of the global issues relating to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and is led by ultramarathon runner and water activist, Mina Guli. For each kilometre completed, the #Sweat4Soap initiative will donate one bar of soap to a community in need.
Goyder Institute Director, Dr Kane Aldridge, said "Unfortunately, a large proportion of the global population still do not have access to sanitation and a safe drinking water supply. We at the Goyder Institute for Water Research are delighted to participate in this year’s #Sweat4Soap initiative to deliver soap to communities in need and to help raise awareness of the ongoing global issues regarding water, sanitation and hygiene."
Goyder Institute Research Program Manager, Dr Alec Rolston, has been involved in previous initiatives led by Mina Guli and the Thirst Foundation. "I participated in the 2020 #Sweat4Soap campaign when I was located in Ireland" said Dr Rolston. "Being part of a global running community working towards alleviating water and sanitation issues was fantastic and I’m delighted to be involved again in 2021 and to be joined by Kane and Dan Pierce at the Institute. Last year, participants from over 50 countries managed to cover an incredible 68,831 km, leading to the donation of over 80,000 bars of soap and 450 handwashing stations to communities in need" he said.
The soap is provided by Eco-Soap Bank, a global not-for profit organisation which employs women to recycle leftover soap from hotels and factories and redistributes it to communities in need along with hygiene education.
"The Goyder Institute is committed to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Goal 6 relates to Clean Water and Sanitation" said Dr Aldridge. "A small commitment by us can help improve the lives of people around the world and that is why we are delighted to take part in #Sweat4Soap. We warmly encourage our research partners and all of you reading this article to join the effort" he said.
To sign up to take part in #Sweat4Soap and have one bar of soap donated to a community in need for each kilometre you complete, please visit https://www.minaguli.com/sweat4soap and follow Mina Guli on Twitter: @minaguli.
To see updates on the Goyder Institute team’s progress to reaching at least 100km, follow us on Twitter: @goyderinstitute.
For further information on global WASH issues, visit https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/water-sanitation-and-hygiene/.
For information on Global Handwashing Day, see https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/global-handwashing-day.html.
For further information on the Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 6, Water and Sanitation, visit https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/.