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We want more toilets used by more people

The Unilever Sanitation Behaviour Change Source Book – published on 14 September – aims to promote more demand for and use of toilets. Here, Analia explains why we are sharing insights and ideas from our work.

The statistics speak for themselves

Group of Asian women outside toilet facilities
Analia Mendez, Global Director, Women Empowerment and Livelihoods, Advocacy and Partnerships
Analia Mendez

Global Director, Women Empowerment and Livelihoods, Advocacy and Partnerships, Chief Sustainability Office

Analia has established several global partnerships, been instrumental in the creation of multi-sector coalitions, and developed publications in the areas of oral health, water and sanitation, and women’s empowerment.

The Source Book presents our learnings, combined with a wealth of ideas and insights from experts in other organisations

Analia Mendez

Did you know that 2.3 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services such as latrines or toilets? In 45 countries, less than half the population have access to adequate sanitation? And one child dies of diarrhoeal diseases due to poor sanitation every two minutes?

The information, ideas and insights in our Sanitation Behaviour Change Source Book (PDF | 11MB) are for people trying to make these statistics a thing of the past. And in particular, for people who know – or who have begun to realise – that building toilets, while very important, is not enough on its own.

Changing the way people think

It is all too common to see significant financial investment being made in the construction of new toilets and sanitation facilities, only for them to be under used or not used at all, to become neglected and, in some cases, converted for other uses altogether, like storing wood.

It doesn’t need to be like this. Collectively, the world has gained enough experience over the last few decades to know that, if we are ever going to eradicate the indignity, health risks and danger of open defecation, we must invest both in the construction and maintenance of toilets, and in changing how people think about having a toilet in the home.

Is this resource for you

In the Source Book, we have brought together advice, ideas and tips, insights and inspiration to help with the design, planning and implementation of behaviour change programmes, with the simple aim of getting more people to have toilets and use them more often.

It’s a resource for individuals and enterprises who want to incorporate behaviour change techniques into a sanitation project they are responsible for planning and designing, or who are managing existing sanitation facilities that need more people to use them more regularly.

A wealth of ideas and insights

Unilever supports a number of partnerships aimed at improving access to sanitation in communities and schools. And we have extensive know-how on consumer behaviour change, gained from many years of commercial marketing activity that annually reaches over 6 billion people.

We believe we are uniquely placed to play an active role in addressing the sanitation crisis with our global reach, innovation, marketing and behaviour change expertise, distribution networks, and our household care brands, including Domestos.

The Source Book presents our learnings – combined with a wealth of ideas and insights from experts in other organisations working around the world – on successful water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives. Specifically, it draws on the work of our Get a Toilet and Use a Toilet projects.

Help contribute to a growing community

We want to help 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020, as part of our Sustainable Living Plan and UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 for water and sanitation.

But that ambitious target cannot be achieved by anyone working alone. So we are releasing these learnings in the belief that they can help other partners to increase their impact in driving toilet behaviour change. Likewise, if you have developed your own sanitation behaviour change programmes, do share what you have learnt with others working in the field. In this way, we can all contribute to the growing community of change needed to eradicate open defecation, and achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all.

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