UN agency names cricket ‘Blaster’ as ambassador for hygiene, sanitation in South Asia

The Government of India is aiming at institutionalising handwashing with soap in schools before Mid Day Meal amongst 110 million children. Photo: UNICEF India/2013/Romana

29 November 2013 – Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar is going to bat for hygiene and sanitation in South Asian, promoting the use of toilets and hand washing, the United Nations children’s agency today announced.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) named Mr. Tendulkar, known as the “Master Blaster”, to support its work in the region with the lowest access to toilets worldwide.

Every year, more than half a million South Asian children under the age of five die of diarrhoea, caused by unsafe drinking water, lack of sanitation and poor hygiene behaviours, according to UNICEF.

“I look forward to working with children and communities in the region,” Mr. Tendulkar said. “Following simple practices can contribute to a hygienic lifestyle which is important for the good health of children and women across the world.”

Sanitation has a strong connection not only with personal hygiene but also with human dignity, well-being, public health, nutrition and education, the UN agency said.

“When playing cricket, Sachin Tendulkar had the unique power to reach everybody in all corners of South Asia and the world,” said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia, adding that Mr. Tendulkar will do the same to reach “everybody in all villages and communities in South Asia with hygiene and sanitation messages”.

The recently-retired Mr. Tendulkar is considered one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game.

He is the first player to score a double hundred in a one-day international and holds the record for the highest number of runs in the formats of both one-day international and test match cricket.

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Cricket Legend Sachin Tendulkar Bats for UNICEF. Credit: UNICEF