The United Nations has declared access to sanitation a basic human right, yet almost a third of the world’s population suffers from a lack of access to improved sanitation. Every year, 6.9 million children die before they reach their fifth birthday. A third of these deaths are caused by diarrheal disease and pneumonia – both can be significantly reduced through improving access to sanitation and promoting handwashing with soap.
The World Health Organization estimates a rate of return of $3-34 for each $1 invested in water and sanitation, depending on the context and system adopted. However, investment in water, sanitation and hygiene in developing countries is minimal compared to other sectors of public spending, and the share of investment going to water, sanitation and hygiene has actually fallen over the last 15 years.
What Will It Take for 1 Billion People to Improve Their Health?
Unilever, under its Sustainable Living Plan, has committed to helping more than one billion people take action to improve their health and wellbeing and on the occasion of World Toilet Day, through its leading hygiene brand Domestos, announced new initiatives including the first Domestos Toilet Academy (in partnership with the World Toilet Organization) in Ho Chi Minh City. Domestos and the Unilever Foundation have been actively addressing the sanitation crisis through their support of UNICEF’s Community Approaches to Total Sanitation programme. Additionally, Unilever is working with Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor on addressing the increasing global problem of inadequate access to water and sanitation for the urban poor.
To reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on sanitation in 2015, more than 120 million people will need to gain access to improved sanitation every year between now and then. One of the key reasons why the MDG for sanitation is lagging furthest behind is the relative reluctance to talk about it.
#Toilets4All : Toilets for Health
Now, join Unilever, UNICEF and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) for an interactive Twitter chat to discuss the issue of sanitation and the ongoing lack of access to improved infrastructure.
We will discuss amongst others the latest insights from the World Toilet Summit in Durban (4-6 Dec) and dive into the findings of Toilets for Health, a white paper by the LSHTM, which highlights how improved sanitation could greatly reduce diseases such as diarrhea, and save as many as 1.1 million children from dying every year, and discuss:
- How do we break the taboo of sanitation?
- What are the basics we must know about the lack of access to appropriate sanitation?
- What is the role of the private sector, NGOs, IGOs and the government in helping to tackle the sanitation crisis? How can they effectively collaborate with one another?
- What if the real issue is infrastructural and a deep-rooted, often cultural, reluctance to shift habits?
- What role can initiatives like World Toilet Day play?
- How do we shift from short-term campaigns to long-term behavioral change? How can initiatives like UNICEF’s Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) contribute?
- What role do schools play?
- How can we generate long-term sustainable change when it comes to sanitation?
Most importantly: how do we together elevate the importance of access to sanitation on the global agenda?
Moderated by CSRwire’s Editorial Director Aman Singh and TriplePundit Editor in Chief Jen Boynton, the conversation will feature:
- Sean Gogarty, Senior Vice President, Unilever Household Care: In this role Sean is responsible for leading the marketing, innovation, supply chain strategies and financial planning for HHC at a global level. One of the key brands in his category is Domestos, Unilever’s leading hygiene brand, and has been committed to helping protect families from germs for more than 80 years. Domestos is uniquely positioned to contribute to programs that work to support the estimated 2.5 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation. It plays a key role in Unilever’s growth strategy and commitment to help one billion people to improve their health and wellbeing via the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.
- Dr. Val Curtis, Reader in Hygiene, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Director of the Hygiene Center: Trained as an engineer, epidemiologist and anthropologist, Dr. Curtis’ research centers around behavior change, especially in water, sanitation and hygiene. She is a global authority on handwashing with soap. Using an evolutionarily derived approach to behavior, she develops and tests interventions based on emotion, motivation, habit, product and settings.
- Therese Dooley, Senior Advisor, Hygiene and Sanitation, UNICEF: Therese has over 20 years of international work experience in the area of water, sanitation and hygiene and has worked for UNICEF in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. She specializes in the area of sanitation and hygiene promotion and has especially focused on the development and adaptation of participatory approaches and processes for hygiene and sanitation improvements and community capacity development. An advocate for the importance of sanitation and hygiene to child survival, growth and development she believes that behaviour change and the establishment of new positive social norms will have a huge impact on children and for future generations.
Date: Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Time: 11:00am EST
Where: To register, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and join us on Twitter at #Toilets4All
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