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SANITATION: WHY IT MATTERS

HOW WE’RE WAGING A WAR ON UNSAFE SANITATION AND POOR HYGIENE

If an entire generation uses toilets, the next one will too. And that will save millions of lives”, Supriya, a teacher, from a community school in India.

We’ve spent the past ten years waging a war on unsafe sanitation and helped 28 million people get access to cleaner, safer toilets. Now we’ve reset our target to 100 million more people by 2030.

BUILDING MORE TOILETS IS NOT ENOUGH

British Medical Journal readers believe that sanitation is best medical intervention in 150 years[1]. Yet over half the world’s population don’t have access to basic levels of sanitation[2] and a child dies every two minutes as a consequence of that shortcoming[3].

Building more toilets is not enough. There’s an urgent need to keep existing toilets in an operational state by ensuring they are safely used, cleaned, and maintained. This means creating positive habits among this generation that lay the sanitation foundations for future generations.

A SIMPLE EQUATION

Where germs thrive so do illness and inequality. When people have their health, they have a much greater chance to become educated, to find work and break the cycle of poverty.

Our mission is to help communities stay healthy through access to better, safer sanitation and hygiene. That’s why we’re taking the fight to the places and spaces where people are most vulnerable to infection. We do this in two ways, through our partnership with UNICEF and through our Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Futures schools programme.

FIGHTING UNSAFE SANITATION AND POOR HYGIENE WITH UNICEF

Domestos supports UNICEF to help communities in India access safe toilets. The partnership works with marginalised communities such as Madhya Pradesh, where 10,000 community toilet complexes have been built. Community-led cleaning and maintenance programmes ensure the toilets are safe, clean and useable for the long term.

Domestos and UNICEF have shown that together we can help save and change lives.  It’s not just about building toilets, it’s about behaviour change and the development of sustainable, community-led approaches to sanitation and hygiene in schools, public places and homes.

Find out more here.

FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN, CLEANER TOILETS MEAN BRIGHTER FUTURES

Around the world 443 million school days are lost each year because of unsafe sanitation and water borne illnesses⁴, limiting the potential of young minds.

Domestos runs a global school’s programme, Cleaner Toilets Brighter Futures, in countries such as South Africa, the Philippines and Turkey; helping children access cleaner, safer school toilets and better standards of hygiene.

We work with teachers, janitors, parents and children to help ensure all parts of a school – toilets and washrooms, classrooms and corridors – are cleaned and maintained every day to provide a healthier, safer learning environment.

Where school toilets are maintained “the children are more attentive and get better results; their physical and mental health has improved; and they are happier at school,” adds Supriya, teacher. But when nearly one in three schools⁵ still don’t have a useable toilet, we still have a lot more work to do.

Find out more here.

UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product or service.

[1] 2007 BMJ readers choose sanitation as the best medical advance since 1840, US National Library of Medicine [2] p.4 UNICEF WASH for School Children South Asia Report [3] 2017 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF [4] Finance for water is an investment in the future https://water.org/our-impact/all-stories/finance-water-investment-future/#:~:text=More%20than%20500%2C000%20children%20die,potential%20of%20these%20young%20minds. [5] https://washdata.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/jmp-2020-wash-schools.pdf