New Delhi: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has launched the “Achhi Aadat (Good Habit)” Campaign in India, to raise awareness among 10 Crore people about the importance of hygiene practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The campaign is to introduce an easy and practical approach to the hygiene and sanitation issues by promoting handwashing, nail cleaning and other hygiene practices such as wearing mask in a correct way.
JICA will roll out the campaign in partnership with Japanese companies and local nonprofit organizations for a period of one year from January 2021. The campaign will be implemented in both urban and rural areas with strong focus on the village communities, schools and hospitals where JICA has built relationships through cooperation. Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), a community based organization will play an important role in the community level activities of this campaign.
To augment this campaign, JICA has also created a manga (cartoon) material named “Correct Handwashing” drawn by Japanese manga artist Ms. Kimidori Inoue, and it has been translated into Hindi and Tamil to extend the campaign to wider audience and better comprehension in local languages. Online events targeting schools and other public facilities will be carried out with the manga and animation. In addition, three Japanese companies are already on board as sponsors for this campaign. These companies are donating their hygiene related products for this campaign, such as the hand-washing station “SATO Tap” from LIXIL, nail clippers from Kai India, and disposable masks from Unicharm India.
Today, a launch event was held in Gram Vikas Samiti Surana, Village Surana, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, targeting approximately 20 children aged between 7 and 14, in cooperation with IJ Kakehashi, a company that is committed towards creating awareness for health, hygiene and environment. The event was held to celebrate National Cleanliness Day, that is observed every year on January 30th to commemorate the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In the event, children learnt the importance of the routine practice of handwashing, nail cleaning and mask wearing while they also received hygiene products provided by the partner companies.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, JICA India said, “Through “Achhi Aadat Campaign”, JICA and partners will work together to establish hygienic practices for the health and welfare of people of India. National Cleanliness Day calls for environment cleanliness including maintaining high standards of cleanliness in our home, work place, roads/streets and public places. In the time of COVID-19, providing attention to personal hygiene is critical to keep good health. It is also in line with the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, who taught people the importance of maintaining personal hygiene and encouraged people to change and get rid of dirty habits to keep good health. Hygienic practices will reduce the likelihood of other viral infections and not only COVID-19. Globally, number of children lose their lives because of diarrheal diseases and it is evidenced that washing hands with soap can reduce this risk drastically. COVID-19 crisis has brought about a momentum to change the people’s mindset about hygiene. We understand hygienic practices that becomes “lifelong good habit” will protect not only oneself but also protect the loved ones.”