Welcome to carry out a Paint and Prevent workshop! This workshop framework introduces an evidence-based, piloted day of fun, mixing visual arts and facts about the importance of handwashing in infection prevention.

The workshop you are about to carry out aims at teaching the participants handwashing skills and knowledge. It consists of two parts: first, engaging the participants in a conversation about handwashing, and second, strengthening their memory with a painting session.

The framework was created as a part of two Global Health and Crisis Management Master’s students’ thesis project in Finland. The workshops will be carried out for the first time in March 2021. The outcomes of these first workshops will be studied by comparing before and after intervention surveys from the participants.

This is the first version of the framework. The partners of the project are Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland, and Art in Tanzania, Tanzania and Finland. This study is organized by Global Health and Crisis Management students Emmi Hamara and Noemi Watson and the main supervisor of this research is principal lecturer Teija-Kaisa Aholaakko from Laurea University. The partner organization in the study is Art in Tanzania.

  1. The Ten Hand washing Topics

Familiarise yourself with the ten handwashing topics on page 10 and the additional material in the links on page 12. The more you know about the topics, the better.

2. Materials

You will need a room or outdoors space, which comfortably accommodates the participants and you. You may choose between having desks or just everyone sitting on the floor or ground, as long as there is enough space for everyone to do their art.
You will also need art supplies for painting or drawing, and the more the better! Paper used should be sturdy, and there should be at least a couple of sheets per participant. Carboard is fine, too. A small hand soap will also be given to each participant after the workshop. The workshop could take anything between 2 to 4 hours.

3. Structure

The workshop starts with you telling the participants why they are there. They have been invited to the workshop to learn about handwashing skills and knowledge. Emphasise the fact they are all there to have fun and to learn about handwashing!

All participants, as well as you, introduce themselves. You may ask them also if they like drawing or painting. Let everyone have a chance to speak. This may take 10 to 20 minutes.

After this, start the discussion about the ten topics. The structure is simple: Bring up any of the topics by asking a leading question about the participants’ habits and knowledge. For example:

“How many of you use soap if it’s available, when washing their hands?”

“Do you have running water available when washing your hands? Do you use it? Do your friends have access to running water?””

“Do you think it is important to wash your hands more because of the Covid-19 pandemic?”

“Who could show the correct handwashing technique?”

“How many washed their hands today before breakfast?”

“Do you like to dry your hands after washing them? Why do you think this may be important?”

“Do you think you can prevent illnesses by washing your hands?”

“Do you think your hands may be extra dirty in certain places?”

“Does anyone know how the germs get into your body from your hands?”

“What other benefits could one get from washing their hands?”

After each question, allow discussion. Encourage the participants to give out their opinion and share their thoughts and ideas. “Wrong answers” may come up, but in these cases provide the participants with correct information. During the conversation on each topic, at some point, provide the correct information. The participants may come from different backgrounds, and their ideas may be different, or they reflect their habits against how accessible hand washing facilities are for them. This is fine. The information given during the workshop should increase their knowledge so that they can understand the importance of aiming at as good hand washing practices, as possible. 

The discussion should take about 30 to 60 minutes. Make sure you go through each one of the ten handwashing topics.

After you have talked about each of the topics, start painting! Introduce the task: everyone can paint or draw about their feeling or thoughts about the discussion. Give them some ideas: they could for example visualize a situation where they are using correct hand washing technique, or draw germs, or paint something about their current hand washing habits. Anything goes! Remember to provide help with using the art supplies, as well. Creating the visual art pieces may take anything from 30 to 60 minutes or even longer, depending on the participants, and the time you have reserved for the workshop.

Finally, it is time for a little art exhibition! In this part, hang or lay out the artwork on a wall, desks or ground. Let everyone introduce what they have done and encourage discussion. There are no “wrong answers” in this part, and the artwork are not graded or critiqued. This is also a fine opportunity to provide the participants with correct information on the 10 hand washing topics, if you notice something is still misunderstood.

Last, give the participants their artwork to take home with them and to remind them of what they have just learned!

The hand washing topics

Ten key items:Identifying learning needs:Transferrable knowledge:
SoapIdentifying the relevance of soap in handwashing manners.Soap should be used every time hands are washed, to remove pathogens efficiently.
TimingIdentifying when washing your hands is necessary.The correct handwashing times: Before, during, and after preparing food; before eating food; before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhoea; before and after treating a cut or wound; after using the toilet; after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste; after handling pet food or pet treats, and after touching garbage
DryingIdentifying the importance of drying hands regarding infection prevention.Hands should be dried completely dry with a clean towel after washing your hands, to prevent pathogens from attaching to the skin
TechniqueIdentifying the need to cover each part of your hands, while washing your hands. Identifying the correct order and duration of handwashing.The correct order for handwashing is: add water, add soap, scrub, rinse, dry. Hands should be scrubbed together 20 seconds after adding soap to remove pathogens efficiently.
Running water  Identifying the importance of running water.Running water is an important part of handwashing for removing pathogens and soap efficiently, also in the reduction of skin irritation from soap. It is also safer than stagnated water. Water does not have to be hot. Cool water may cause less skin irritation and is more environmentally friendly than warmer water
Preventing illnessIdentifying that handwashing prevents diarrheal disease and respiratory infection related illness and deaths.Washing hands regularly prevents respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases, common cold, flu and the spread of anti-microbial resistant bacteria.
Locating pathogensIdentifying the locations and pathogens living on one´s hands.Most of the microbes on one´s hands live under the fingernails. Normal human flora (germs) can be dangerous in wrong places.
Routes of transmissionIdentifying the most common ways pathogens move from hands to peopleThrough hands to mouth, nose and ears, as well as surfaces.
Global Infection preventionIdentifying the effects of handwashing in a global health aspect.Handwashing is one of the most effective preventative method regarding infection control, and during the Covid-19 pandemic handwashing should be even more regular. Prevents antibiotic resistant pathogens.
AccessibilityIdentifying global issues with running water and lack of soap.40% of the world´s population live in areas where water and soap are inaccessible. Only 19% of adolescents in Tanzania wash their hands after using toilet.

Additional information at:

Burton, M., Cobb, E., Donachie, P., Curtis, V. & Schmidt, W-P. 2011. The effects of Handwashing with Water or Soap on Bacterial Contamination of Hands. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 8(1), 97-104.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention 2020. Hand Washing: a Family Activity.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. When and How to Wash your hands..

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Show me the Science – How to Wash Your Hands.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Global Hand Washing Day.

Centres of Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Show Me the Science- Why Wash your Hands.

Jefferson, T., Del Mar, C., Dooley, L., Ferroni, E., Al-Ansary, L., Bawazeer, G., van Driel, M., Nair, S., Jones, M., Thorning, S. & Conly, J. 2011. Physical interventions to interrupt or reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. Cochrane Library.

Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. 2017. Tanzania Mainland Global School-based Student Health Survey Country Report.

National Health Services. 2019. How to wash your hands.

United Nations Children’s Fund & World Health organization. 2020. Hand Hygiene for All.

World Health Organization. 2009. Hand Hygiene: Why, How and When?

World Health Organization. 2018. Adolescent Health in UR Tanzania.

World Health Organization. 2020a. Country information. Adolescent Health.

World Health Organization. 2020b. United Republic of Tanzania. Statistics.

Text and editing: Emmi Hamara 2021

Drawings and editing: Noemi Watson 2021

Theme photo: Sharon McCutcheon /

Cover photo: Anna Kolosyuk /

For more information or feedback, contact:

Noemi Watson, RMN

Emmi Hamara, RN

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