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unilever heroes Shaamiel

The true impact behind our Sunlight Water Centres

“Most mothers are coming here for their babies”

Meet Shaamiel Edwards, one of Unilever’s 2015 Heroes. Our Heroes programme recognises pioneering individuals who have brought our values to life and truly embody what it means to be part of Unilever.

It has been Shaamiel Edward’s mission, as a Unilever Hero, to transform the Ola ice cream business in South Africa by tracking operations, reducing the carbon footprint and fighting theft.

To see another leadership initiative in action, Shaamiel recently visited one of our Sunlight Water Centres in Nigeria where communities face the hardship of water scarcity.

It is through Sunlight’s partnership with TechnoServe that the water centres are providing communities with access to clean water whilst empowering women entrepreneurs to own and run the centres.

Shaamiel describes the partnership as “instrumental in developing the water centres” as he witnesses first-hand the activity happening on the ground.

“There is a buzz of activity at the water centres”

Shaamiel visited communities just outside of Abuja, where he saw for himself how the local water centre is a well-utilised space, at the heart of the community. People often visit daily, many of those are women and mothers, collecting safe, clean water for their families.

“It’s humbling, it’s heart-warming”

To date, the partnership has reached 12,000 people and the aim is to scale this model to 1,000 Sunlight Water Centres reaching over 1 million Nigerians.

Since January 2016, we have eight water centres in operation across Nigeria.

Empowering women

This project fits within our wider Opportunities for Women strategy and Unilever’s commitment to advancing women’s rights and economic inclusion, with the aim of empowering 5 million women by 2020.

It is also supporting the Sustainable Development Goals – Goal 5 (Gender Equality), Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), as well as Goal 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and Goal 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).