N8 Personal hygiene

HygieneWater and sanitation

Good personal hygiene plays an important part in good health. We should wash ourselves, and our clothes, regularly with soap and water to prevent the build up of dirt. Teeth and nails should be cleaned regularly.

It is really important to wash our hands immediately after using a latrine or after disposing of child faeces. From the instructions provided on page 19, you could make a tippy tap and hang next to the latrine. They are simple to make, use very little water and provide an easy way to make sure soap is available.

It is essential to wash hands well with soap and water before handling food. Hang a ‘tippy tap’ near the cooking area and use it regularly, both before handling food and in between handling uncooked and cooked foods.

Wear clean clothing when preparing food. Never cough, sneeze or smoke over food that is being prepared for eating. Take particular care with hygiene if you are ill and still need to prepare food. This will reduce the risk of passing on your infection. Always cover cuts and sores on your hands.


  • Why is good personal hygiene important?
  • What will happen if we do not wash ourselves and our clothes regularly? What kind of diseases and pests like to spread in dirty conditions?
  • How do infections spread? It may be very helpful to have a health worker explain more about this. What are the risks of spreading infection if someone who is ill prepares food?
  • Have you seen a tippy tap in use? What are the advantages of using a tippy tap rather than using a bowl of water? Could you find a suitable plastic bottle and make one (or make one for each member of the group)? Discuss any problems and work out solutions for them.

How to make a tippy tap   

1. Warm the base of the handle over a candle and then pinch gently with pliers to seal it tight so water cannot flow through.

2. Heat the point of a small nail over a candle and make three holes as shown.

3. Thread string through the two holes on the back and tie the bottle to a stick. Attach soap (with an empty tin can above it to protect it from rain) and make a handle which is pulled to let out a trickle of water.