Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar awards prizes for the best South Asian ideas on handwashing

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Bharat Chauhan , New innovative ideas on how to save lives in South Asia by
encouraging hand washing with soap were celebrated on Monday. The cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar
and Goodwill Ambassador for United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) awarded prizes for the best
ideas submitted to the regional WASH Innovation Challenge organized by BRAC and UNICEF.
Over 780 teams from all over South Asia submitted new ideas on how best to get everyone to wash
their hands with soap. The top 12 teams presented their ideas to Sachin Tendulkar and UNICEF’s
Regional Director, Jean Gough and Asif Saleh, Senior Director at BRAC in Bhutan. The three winning
teams that each won US$5000 for their ideas came from Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Sachin Tendulkar also met with students and parents and played cricket with young cricket players
from Bhutan’s national team.
“I am delighted to have met with the amazing children and youth in Bhutan. Their positive energy
to follow their dreams is so inspiring. As UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, I have always supported the
simple yet most effective practice of handwashing. And on this trip, learning about new and
innovative ideas to support handwashing with soap in South Asia was meaningful. The many children
I met and played cricket with have promised me that they will become ambassadors for
handwashing and also spread this important message to their families and friends,” said Sachin
Tendulkar.
The three innovation ideas that won were: a colorful bangle that jingles and reminds a mother to
wash her hands before cooking and feeding her child and after using the toilet; a multi-purpose
water bottle with the full functionality of a hand washing station; and a monitoring system that
tracks how often students wash hands.
Hand washing with soap is an excellent way for families to protect their children from diseases that
are potentially life-threatening. Research has shown that with proper hand washing, the risk of
diarrhea can be reduced by 42-47 per cent, and the risk of acute respiratory infection in children
aged under 5 years can be reduced by half. A study has also found that newborn deaths were
significantly lower among children of mothers who reported washing their hands when having used
the bathroom and before preparing food.
“Innovation in this part of the world is not necessarily about just creating a product. It is often
coming up with simple solutions that can be scaled up. We hope these innovative solutions from
young social entrepreneurs will provide a boost towards our efforts to improve people’s well-being

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