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How we’re improving global sanitation

Every two minutes, unsafe water and poor sanitation cause illnesses that result in the death of a child. It’s a terrible and shocking truth, and it’s why Domestos is currently waging an all-out war. A war on poor sanitation.

In 2015, The World Health Organisation estimated a massive 2.3 billion people still did not have access to a toilet, placing whole communities at risk from the life threatening illnesses caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water.[1] In South Africa, the Early Childhood Review of 2017 indicated 1.5 million small children don’t have toilets at the site where they live.[2]

Domestos, by way of an ongoing global partnership with UNICEF and via our schools-based Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Futures programme, is committed to aiding the battle against poor sanitation and unsafe water. We aim to help 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020.[3]

Sanitation: Definition


What is sanitation, exactly? Sanitation refers to public health systems and conditions put in place to remove, safely treat and dispose of unsafe water and human waste. Sanitation means reduced exposure to diseases and a cleaner environment in which to live.

Those of us with safely managed sanitation - meaning access to a toilet connected to a sewage system – number only two out of every three people worldwide. In areas with inadequate sanitation, a whole host of nasty health conditions can be easily transmitted, including diarrhoea, which kills 280,000 people every year, according to the World Health Organisation.[4] Hepatitis A, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio are also linked to poor sanitation, as are tropical diseases such as intestinal worms and trachoma. Poor sanitation is also responsible for contributing to malnutrition.

Effective sanitation, i.e. access to toilets and latrines, has a massive impact when it comes to improving human health. And when people have their health, it becomes easier to achieve an education, get a job, and ultimately, to start breaking the cycle of poverty.


Our partnership with UNICEF: Fighting poor sanitation across the world


Domestos is contributing to UNICEF’s work in impoverished areas of the world, aiding its goal to help every child have a clean, safe toilet to use.

Domestos’ global partnership with UNICEF has resulted in 10 million people gaining access to toilets already. That’s just the beginning – we hope to help many millions more.

The Domestos ‘Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Futures’ initiative


Domestos believes a clean, safe school toilet to be a basic human right, not a privilege. Shockingly, two thirds of schools in developing countries lack this right. When children can’t use the toilets at school because they’re filthy, or don’t work, some simply stop using them, which leads to serious health risks – particularly for young women who are going through their menstruation cycle. On the flip side, when children do choose to use an unclean toilet, they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.

Did you know that currently, 272 million school days are lost each year due to sickness caused by diseases linked to unsafe water and unsanitary conditions? Our Cleaner Toilets Brighter Futures programme tackles part of this gigantic problem by helping make school toilets cleaner and safer around the world.

Cleaner Toilets Brighter Futures provides education for janitors, teachers and school principals as well as school children, so all can learn the benefits of healthy hygiene habits and clean toilets. Practices to keep toilets maintained and operational over the long term are also covered by the programme.

Here at Domestos, we believe we’re unstoppable when it comes to the war on poor sanitation. With your support, we will continue the fight on two levels - providing clean toilets for school children and helping people without toilets gain access to them.

*Income from sales of Domestos products in South Africa will not be directed towards the project with UNICEF.

[1] Sanitation, World Health Organisation

[2] Early Childhood Review [pdf] 1.1 MB

[3] Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Futures, Unilever

[4] Sanitation, World Health Organisation