Making a difference with our brands & partners

Unilever is working with governments, health agencies and non-profit groups to advocate the importance of clean, safe toilets, and the practice of handwashing with soap at the right times during the day.

Domestos for UNICEF: building on our partnership

In 2015, Domestos and the Unilever Foundation entered a fourth year of partnership with UNICEF. Analia Mendez, Global Director of Social Mission Expertise in Home Care emphasises: “Our aim is to help improve access to basic sanitation for hundreds of thousands of people. We do this by supporting UNICEF’s Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programme – the first global partnership UNICEF has run with the private sector. CATS promotes good hygiene practices and helps to create demand for access to toilets. This can have a lasting positive impact on the health and well-being of communities reached.

“As part of our partnership, Domestos gives consumers the opportunity to help through a cause-related marketing campaign in supermarkets. The campaign is called Destroy Germs, Protect Children, and includes the UNICEF logo on Domestos packs. Domestos contributes 5% of its average proceeds received from the sale of specially-marked bottles in select countries to support UNICEF’s CATS programmes.”

Over 2012-2014, our partnership reached 1.3 million people with behaviour change sanitation programmes.1 As a result of these efforts, 655,000 people are now living in open defecation free communities, benefiting from improved health, safety and dignity. And in more than 2,000 communities that are now open defecation free, women and girls now have basic sanitation, ensuring that they have the freedom to relieve themselves without the risk of shame, harassment or attack.

In addition, 68,000 school children have benefited from sanitation and hygiene education programmes in 260 schools, meaning fewer sick days and more children staying in school, leading to improved learning.1

The partnership has been strong year on year – with the number of participating countries increasing from three in 2012 to fourteen in 2015. Domestos continues to grow strongly too - delivering nearly 8% underlying sales growth in 2015.

Making a difference with CATS

Imagine if every time you needed to go to the toilet you risked disease, shame, harassment and attack? What if every month your daughter missed school because of her menstrual cycle? What if all this could be solved by simply having access to a safe, clean toilet? This is why Domestos is supporting UNICEF through its Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programme.

Through UNICEF’s CATS programme, Loan, a 60 year old Vietnamese grandmother, has learned how a toilet can combat diarrhoea. Not having a toilet when she grew up, Loan did not know the impact it could have. It is her role to keep her family safe, but Loan has spent a great deal of time sick, which made it harder to take care of her family.

After UNICEF helped her community understand the importance of improved sanitation, she persuaded her son to save up for a family toilet. And after the community assisted with getting their toilet built, Loan and her family are no longer getting sick.

Harnessing the power of people & systems

In Brazil’s semi-arid region, 450,000 children lack access to toilets or to safe and quality water in their schools. We wanted to launch Domestos in Brazil in 2014 and decided to leverage our global partnership with UNICEF to promote an innovative campaign – Vim para UNICEF. Domestos, known locally as Vim, was the first brand to support sanitation in Brazil. This has helped to create brand awareness and loyalty.

We realised that to tackle the scale of the problems, municipalities and authorities had to be involved. Together with UNICEF, we helped to establish new and tangible targets for school sanitation. Now, as part of UNICEF’s Country Programme, municipalities that meet these targets can obtain UNICEF’s Municipal Seal of Approval as a recognition for their achievements in improving children’s life conditions.

To accompany this work, we initiated a large online campaign for sanitation in Brazil to mobilise people to support the cause. We created an online map containing sanitation data for every municipal school in the region. More than 7 million people engaged with the campaign, enabling them to help spread the word and donate to UNICEF. We also generated media coverage by inviting celebrities to back the campaign, and many media channel partners offered free advertising space to help boost awareness.

Domestos schools programmes

Domestos currently runs schools programmes in Vietnam, South Africa, Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). To deliver these, Domestos partners with local NGOs. Domestos and its partners have provided schools with access to clean, safe toilets and hygiene education reaching over 800,000 children. Turkey’s fun hygiene programme teaches children about the benefits of keeping toilets clean and safe. Over 2011-2015, it has reached over 75,000 students every year.

Market-based models: Domestos Toilet Academies

As well as the wider impact that our hygiene campaigns trigger, we are piloting a number of market-based sanitation models, such as our rural Domestos Toilet Academies (DTAs). This programme trains local entrepreneurs so that they can establish self-sustaining businesses. Entrepreneurs are trained to supply, install and maintain hygienic toilets, and educate local communities on the importance of sanitation and hygiene practices. In 2015 there were seven DTAs up and running in India, and two in Vietnam.

Domex Toilet Academies in rural India

India is the focus of our DTA programme, under the brand name Domex. India continues to carry the greatest share of the global sanitation burden, with more than half a billion people defecating in the open according to the World Health Organization.

Over 2014-2015, the Domex Toilet Academy programme has sold and installed over 30,000 household toilets in India as reported by our partners PSI and eKutir. We estimate that the initiative has reached approximately 160,000 people.

As part of the DTA initiative, we are now also collaborating with Population Services International (PSI) on a new academy in Bihar, where nearly 80% of rural households have no toilet. Since 2012, PSI has worked with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to repair and strengthen the supply chain for toilets, and link households with desirable products and services. While there is demand for toilets in Bihar, many households are cash-poor and cannot afford to pay for them up front.

Together, Unilever, PSI and the BMGF are working to make sanitation financing accessible to households and to sanitation-trained entrepreneurs. We are promoting behaviour change habits to allow households to maintain and take pride in their toilets. The programme in Bihar aims to reach 115,000 households in Bihar with a new and functioning toilet between 2015 and 2017.

The DTA programme is a key initiative helping to deliver the Indian government’s vision, which aims to see a toilet in every home by 2019.

Sanitation as an urban service: Clean Team in Ghana

Another market-based sanitation model is our partnership with Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor’s (WSUP) Clean Team in Ghana. Clean Team has adopted a new approach to urban sanitation service provision by shifting the focus from sanitation as an asset, to sanitation as a service.

Clean Team provides a subscription-based chemical toilet service with no upfront charge for the toilet hardware. Instead, customers pay a weekly or monthly subscription to access the sanitation service. A chemical toilet is placed in their home and then serviced, emptied and cleaned. In 2015 it provided in-home sanitation for over 700 households.

1 As reported by UNICEF.

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