Supporting sustainable sanitation solutions
We’re exploring new models to help more people use safer toilets.
Seeking solutions: a matter of scale
Since 2012, we’ve helped over 10 million people gain improved access to a toilet through our partnership with UNICEF.1 And we’re partnering with others, seeking innovations, and exploring sustainable, commercial models to reach even more people..
It’s important to assess the effectiveness of new Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) models. In India, we’ve applied lifecycle assessments to evaluate the environmental impacts of scaling different sanitation solutions, considering several scenarios.
Rethinking community hygiene
In some areas, people simply can’t afford a toilet of their own. But poorly maintained community facilities can put them at risk of disease.
Our pioneering Suvidha urban WASH Community Centre (PDF | 2MB) adopts a low-cost commercial model to support community hygiene. The Centre is the first of its kind in India. It offers flushing toilets, handwashing facilities with soap, and clean showers. It provides safe drinking water and state-of-the-art laundry operations at an affordable cost for low-income households – between 1-3 Indian rupees a day or 150 rupees for a month’s family pass.
Situated in Azad Nagar, Ghatkopar, one of Mumbai’s largest slums, the Centre has reached over 1,500 people since it opened on World Toilet Day 2016. Suvidha (which means ‘facility’ in Hindi) was built with our partners, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and Pratha Samajik Sanstha, a non-profit community organisation.
In 2017, through the Toilet Board Coalition, we also ran a one-year programme supporting Samagra, a social enterprise which refurbishes run-down community toilets in India and which received mentoring from our Domestos Global Brand Director. For a small monthly fee, Samagra enables families to use clean, safe toilets and other related services.
Clean habits, clean India
More than 3,000 employees at 25 of our factories in India are embracing a new role – as agents of change. The Swachhata Doots, as they are known (or ‘messengers of cleanliness’) educate and motivate their communities to adopt better WASH habits. Our volunteers have reached 7.5 million people in 2,600 villages since 2016, as part of our Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat (‘Clean Habits, Clean India’) programme.
Supported by local government, our programme has also partnered with the Society for Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA). Together, we are creating a 21 day Swachhata Curriculum for clean habits - 21 days being the recognised period for effective behaviour change.
Through the Social Transformation Mission involving businesses and the Maharashta Government, the Swachhata Curriculum has become part of the state school curriculum. This means it now benefits more than 120,000 children in rural India. Ten year-old Shweta Rangari is one of those children, or ‘Swachh Aadat Superheroes’. A student from Indrathana ZP school in Yavatmal, Shweta refused to go back to school until her father built her a toilet at home. Her father was so taken aback by the demand that he built a toilet within one week!
TRANSFORMing access to toilets
In partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), we support social enterprises through our joint initiative, TRANSFORM. We co-founded TRANSFORM in 2015, with an ambition to bring private sector creativity and commercial approaches to solve persistent global development challenges, including sanitation.
To date, it has supported 19 projects across nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, which have already benefited over a quarter of a million people. The next phase of TRANSFORM will build on this and serve as a basis for collaboration with additional partners to further catalyse impact at scale, to help as many people as possible.
Supporting sanitation entrepreneurs through the Toilet Board Coalition
We brought together businesses, NGOs, academics and social entrepreneurs to establish the Toilet Board Coalition in 2014. Its Toilet Accelerator helps small sanitation enterprises drive business growth and become sustainable in the long-term.
Clean Team Ghana, for example, provides in-home toilets that don’t require plumbing. Twice a week, waste is collected and safely disposed of. With mentoring from Charlie Beevor, our VP Household Cleaning and Chairman of the Toilet Board Coalition, the business is growing. It aims to supply 10,000 households in Kumasi, the country’s second largest city.
Well-maintained toilets also present a whole new opportunity for business, society and the environment. During World Water Week in 2017, we joined other members of the Toilet Board Coalition to explore the business case for a circular sanitation economy. The idea is to turn human waste into valuable resources like fertilisers, animal feed or protein.
Sanitation companies in Africa are already beginning to turn this vision into reality. Sanitation economies are developing in Ghana, South Africa and Kenya, driven by companies with a clear vision. In Kenya, for example, we’re supporting sanitation social enterprises like Sanergy and Sanivation through the TRANSFORM partnership.
WASH in the workplace
It’s not enough to install facilities and change behaviour at home. People need access to toilets throughout the day, which means they need good sanitation at work.
Nine out of ten jobs2 in developing countries are created by private enterprises. So business clearly has a big role to play in tackling water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the workplace.
We support the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Pledge for Access to WASH at the Workplace. And we’re part of WASH4Work, a group of businesses and public organisations mobilising efforts to improve access to WASH for employees, as well as in our supply chains and surrounding communities.
1 Results are reported by UNICEF in accordance with its methodology and includes reach from direct and indirect initiatives over 2012-2016.
2 WASH 4 Work: https://wash4work.org/