Sanitation is a global development priority. In 2013 the United Nations General Assembly announced November 19 as World Toilet Day- in order to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and relevant stakeholders. Clear water and sanitation is also the 6th out of the 17 Global Goals to work on for a bright future.
Recently, at the Grantham Development Centre, I spoke to Enactus students about the importance of Global Goals, their alignment to Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan and our brands which are already working hard to make them a reality.
World Toilet Day is a day to have the whole world talking about toilets. It is a day to take action and raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet – despite it being a human right. Of the world’s 7 billion people, 2.4 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation - they have to go to the toilet in the open, with the risk of becoming victims to attack, rape and harassment. Poor sanitation increases the risk of disease and malnutrition, especially for women and children.
It is important to raise awareness of this harsh reality and inspire action to drive change. Domestos, in collaboration with UNICEF and WaterAid, invited VIP attendees to experience the ‘SeeThrough Toilet’ in New York - a mirrored toilet cubicle with a difference. From the outside, it is a mirror but from the inside, you can see everything happening outside around you. Visitors could experience what it feels like, sitting on a toilet out in the open, feeling exposed. It brings home how real the problems of lack of access to safe and private sanitation facilities are for one third of the population, who cannot enjoy the most simple of provisions. For highlights from the Domestos’s See Through Loo at Global Citizen Festival 2015, watch this video.
In support of Global Goal 6, and as part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, Domestos has the commitment to help 25 million people gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. Together with UNICEF, Unilever works on global sanitation behaviour change programmes and through school programmes, educates young pupils on sanitation and personal hygiene.
We as individuals can also contribute by telling everyone about the #globalgoals for a #brightfuture. I encourage you to visit www.globalcitizen.org and have a look at the ways in which you can show your support to the Global Goals initiative. This is the chance to act as a true global citizen.
VP Finance UK & I, Unilever