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A new partnership to change 100 million lives


In the week that the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals are adopted, Unilever is launching a partnership to help 100 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia improve their health, livelihood and environment by 2025.

Njuguna Ndungu Njumfra Traders Shop

Today 17% of people in the developing world still live at or below $1.25 per day, and an estimated 2.4 billion are without access to adequate sanitation.

The Transform programme will see Unilever work with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership to create jobs, boost incomes and improve the health and well-being of some of the world’s poorest people.

It is the first initiative to be launched since Unilever and DFID committed to working together to help the world’s poor in 2014 – the first partnership of its kind between a leading international business and DFID.

“There is no business case for enduring poverty,” says Unilever CEO Paul Polman.

“Transformational change requires transformational partnerships. Delivering the goals can happen only if business, governments and civil society work together.”

There is no business case for enduring poverty

Paul Polman, Unilever CEO

Changing lives through enterprise

Transform will be a five year, minimum £10 million, initiative that will support delivery of the UN’s Goals by creating new social businesses to improve access to affordable goods and services.

It will do so by strengthening local business capacity – establishing small pilot enterprises providing solutions for affordable sanitation, safe drinking water and low-cost, safe cooking.

The partnership will also contribute to the research and evidence base around behaviour change to improve health and well-being on a large scale, with a focus on digital and mobile. All research will be made freely available for use by governments, NGOs, and businesses.

Could your idea make a difference?

A call for business proposals to support Transform’s objectives will be launched via Unilever’s Foundry platform, which was launched in 2014 as a hub to collaborate with innovative digital marketing startups.

Today that platform is being expanded to enable social entrepreneurs to engage and partner with Unilever. Successful projects will be supported with funding and technical assistance from Unilever and our partners.

Transform is open to all partners who can make a contribution to the overall success of the initiative, bringing complementary skills and expertise. For further information about becoming a partner please contact

Case studies: DFID and Unilever working together

DFID and Unilever have previously worked together in partnership with private sector and civil society organisations to achieve a number of common development goals.

Last year Unilever and DFID launched the Perfect Solar Store Initiative in Kenya, teaming up with global solar energy company D.light to place solar lights in small-scale retail outlets. Better lighting has helped stores increase revenues significantly by allowing retailers to stay open later without the use of smoky kerosene lamps and has provided the local community with access to affordable solar lights. The initiative is now being expanded from 100 to 1,000 outlets.

We’re also seeing success from our Clean Team Partnership with social enterprise in Ghanawith the NGO Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor. Clean Team rents portable toilets to families and collects waste three times per week, improving sanitation and hygiene. By the end of 2015, Clean Team expects to grow to over 40 staff, 2,500 toilets, and approximately 17,500 people benefiting from in-home sanitation.

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