On World Toilet Day, Kimberly-Clark, makers of global toilet health and hygiene brands including Huggies, Scott, Kotex, Kleenex, and Depend announced the launch of a second phase of its global Toilets Change Lives program in India.
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Around the globe, one child dies every two minutes from diseases caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene. Millions of girls miss school every few days a month because they do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities to manage their periods privately and with dignity. Women and girls often have to wait until dark to defecate and urinate, often in secluded spots, exposing them to risk of violence and attack. More than 38% schools in the India do not have usable toilets for girls, increasing their chances of dropping out or facing difficulties regularly.
Kimberly-Clark launched its Toilets Change Lives program, as a global intervention, in 2014 to solve sanitation challenges in partnership with organisations such as UNICEF, WaterAid, WaterforPeople and Charities Aid Foundation. Since its launch, Toilets Change Lives has expanded to over 15 countries including India. To date, the program has directly improved the lives of 500,000 people with the wider community impact reaching over 1 million.
In India, where, despite the construction of tens of millions of toilets over the past few years, usage remains low because of lack of maintenance and change in behaviours. To address this, Kimberly-Clark is supporting the repair and maintenance of toilets in schools and mobilizing children as change agents to bring hygiene education into their families’ homes. So far, the program has directly benefited over 30,000 school children and teachers across more than 102 schools, increasing enrollments at some schools by up to 40 percent[iv].
Positively impacting lives of more than 40,000 school children, this program is addressing sanitation challenges in States of India Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal, and is further extended to another 32 schools in Assam and Chhatisgarh. In all these schools, Kimberly-Clark will invest in renovating toilets and maintaining them, in partnership with school authorities, the local municipal authorities, and Charities Aid Foundation India. As the program expands to new schools, it will continue to ensure functionality and use of toilets in all of the previously renovated 102 toilets.
DEVELOPING NEXT GENERATION SANITATION SOLUTIONS
In addition to the repair and maintenance of toilets, Kimberly-Clark is also investing its innovation capabilities to help develop commercially sustainable and scalable solutions for sanitation crisis. As a founding member of the Toilet Board Coalition, Kimberly-Clark supports the organization’s ‘Toilet Accelerator’ program. Through the ‘Toilet Accelerator’ program, Kimberly-Clark employees mentor local entrepreneurs to develop new technology, programs and business models to convert waste from a cost to a valuable resource, with an aim to create self-sustaining sanitation economy.
Samagra and Saraplast are few of the initiatives that have emerged out of the ‘Toilet Accelerator’ program. Samagra has developed a customer-centric public toilet block model that leverages technologies for a behaviour change program that has dramatically increased the use rates of their toilets. Mobile toilets developed by Saraplast provide dignified sanitation solutions in areas such as construction sites, public sites and disaster relief zones. They have pioneered a ‘Mobi-Loo’ business model of portable and mobile toilets throughout India.