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Did you know that World Toilet Day is celebrated all over the world? For most people, it is just a regular day, but for the children of Vodiriana, it is an unforgettable day of fun.

In this remote, hard-to-reach village, the celebration is a big deal. The different events promote good hygiene practices in fun and memorable ways. Medair encourages everyone to take part: the local authorities, women’s associations, the schools. The children particularly look forward to the celebration, because not only is it fun, it’s also an opportunity for them to show off their talents.

The night before last year’s celebration, some of the children stayed up late to write songs and poems about good hygiene. Some tested each other on questions about sanitation, hoping to win the trivia contest. Still others spent long hours practicing their choreography in the hope of winning the dance contest.

Claudia and her friends prepare for their dance.

Claudia, 8, and her friends love dancing. Together, they came up with choreography showing how to correctly use a toilet. “None of our families own a [Medair] toilet yet, but we hope that winning the contest will help convince our parents to order one,” said Claudia.

When it was Claudia and her friends’ turn to step into the middle of the schoolyard and perform their dance, they carefully followed their rehearsed choreography. The audience applauded and then grew louder before finally breaking into a loud cheer. After all the groups had danced, the jury announced the winners: Claudia and her friends! Although there could only be one winner, all the children who took part in the World Toilet Day celebration went home winners.

“Children are not only the future, they are also the present,” said Ketsia Bonnaz, Medair relief worker. “By educating them, we encourage them to have a positive influence on their parents’ attitudes and behaviours, and to bring about change within their families. Children who know what good hygiene practices are, or who are aware of the ways to reduce disaster risks, may help not only preserve their own lives, but also save the lives of others. That is why it is important to invest in children.”

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Medair’s work in Madagascar is made possible by US Agency for International Development, EU International Cooperation and Development, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swiss Solidarity, and generous private donors.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.