Wash Your Hands
Mom's sage advice, and the way out of poverty.
Unsafe water, then inadequate sanitation, then dirty little hands, then feces goes from food and fingers into mouths, and diarrheal disease is transmitted. Kids are sick, stay out and drop out of school, don't learn, don't earn, and the cycle of poverty continues.
Data point: the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal reported that 42-47 percent of all diarrheal transmission could be stopped by handwashing with soap (Curtis, Val, & Sandy Cairncross. (2003, May). "Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: A systematic review." Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal 3(5), 275-81.)
A couple of examples of the good work being done to alleviate poverty through simple handwashing campaigns:
In Madagascar 19,300 primary schools will participate in a week-long event. Handwashing with soap activities involving schools and the community, culminate on October 15th with 3.5 million children washing hands with soap at noon. President Ravalomanana will lead the Day. Three Ministries have issued a joint statement to the Prime Minister to officialize Global Handwashing Day. A parade of schoolchildren through the capital is planned for October 15th.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health are supporting an event on October 15th in an elementary school close to Panama City. Children will wash their hands together with high representatives from both Ministries.