Changing Behaviours. Saving Lives
Sanitation & Dignity for All
An estimated 2.5 billion people – over one third of the world’s population – live without access to adequate sanitation. Of these people, over one billion defecate in the open. Tragically, approximately every 2 two minutes a child dies of diseases related to poor sanitation(1). These are diseases that are preventable through access to a clean and safe toilet.
Earlier this year, Unilever announced its commitment to help 25 million people gain improved access to toilets by 2020. This commitment is part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan – Unilever’s blueprint for sustainable growth.
To deliver on this commitment, Domestos and the Unilever Foundation have been working with UNICEF to change sanitation behaviours and empower communities to become open defecation free. As a result of the first two years of the partnership with UNICEF, over 1 million people have been reached with behaviour change interventions designed to improve their sanitation practices; this will result in these individuals living in open defecation free communities.
Additionally, Domestos is also partnering with social enterprise eKutir, to deliver market-based models that enable entrepreneurs to set up local sanitation businesses in rural areas. Domestos is also running school programmes with locally-based NGOs, which improve school facilities and educate the next generation of children on the importance of sanitation and hygiene.
Lack of access to proper sanitation is particularly a problem for women and girls. 1 in 3 women and girls around the world lack access to sanitation(2). And for many young women this means that in addition to facing disease, they have to contend with harassment, shame and the threat of physical violence that is associated with defecating in the open.
Investments in sanitation will not only help to improve individuals’ health, but they will contribute to girls attending and remaining in school and will afford dignity and privacy particularly for women and girls.
In 2015, Domestos and the Unilever Foundation will continue on their path to creating a #brightfuture by helping to provide communities and schools with improved access to toilets.
1 WHO/UNICEF JMP, Update on Drinking Water and sanitation, Update 2014
2 WaterAid: Briefing note – 1 in 3 women lack access to safe toilets (19 November 2012)