Unilever and World Toilet Organization partner for the World’s First Toilet Academy

Ho Chi Minh: With 2.6 billion people across the world without access to clean toilets, Unilever is proud to announce the world’s first Toilet Academy that will address the global sanitation issue.

To celebrate World Toilet Day (19th November), Unilever’s health and hygiene brand Domestos (also known as Vim) has announced the global roll-out of Domestos Toilet Academies, starting with a pilot Academy in Vietnam opening next year, that will help provide sustainable and long-term solutions to sanitation that benefit local societies and help stimulate the local economies.

The Domestos Toilet Academy, developed in conjunction with the World Toilet Organization, will run month-long training courses for local people interested in setting up their own businesses to source, sell and maintain toilets, and educate local communities on the importance of sanitation.

Lack of sanitation is a serious health risk to the billions of people with no toilet facilities, particularly those who are forced to engage in the demeaning practise of open defecation [1]. The lack of functioning toilets in schools is also a major cause of school dropout by adolescent girls [2].

In Vietnam, only half the population has ‘some sort’ of sanitation facility, and 82% do not have access to facilities that meet the hygiene standards of the country’s Ministry of Health [3]. By addressing these issues, the Domestos Toilet Academy will help accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation; to halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015, and therefore contribute to Millennium Development Goal 4, to reduce child mortality. Currently the MDG for sanitation is the goal lagging the furthest behind.

“It is unimaginable that in 2011, 2.6 billion people, two fifths of the global population, do not have access to a clean toilet. We know that better sanitation saves lives, which is why we at Unilever have committed to sustainably improve sanitation through the Domestos Toilet Academy programme. We are working with the World Toilet Organization and local communities to not only help millions of people get access to clean toilets, but also help them create sustainable businesses, to give them a better life,” said Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever.

Jack Sim, Founder of the World Toilet Organization added, “Having access to a clean and functioning toilet is something that many people take for granted. In the past few years, progress has been made in Vietnam towards improving sanitation; however there is still a long way to go. Only 12% of schools actually have hygienic toilet access, with rural areas suffering the most. By working in partnership with Unilever’s Domestos, we can effectively pool resources and expertise to work towards a shared goal for improved sanitation and create a long-term, focused solution that reaches the people that need it most.”

Weed added, “For Unilever this project emphasises the importance of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. It is a true demonstration of our commitment to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020. Additionally, Unilever will be partnering with UNICEF to help address the sanitation crisis and promote health through improved hygiene and access to toilets.”

[1]Unicef.org/wash/index_statistics.html(Link opens in a new window)

[2]Unicef.org/wash/index_schools.html(Link opens in a new window)

[3]Unicef.org/vietnam/wes.html(Link opens in a new window)

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Notes for the editor

About the Domestos Toilet Academy (will be known in Vietnam as the Vim Toilet Academy)

The Domestos Toilet Academy will open in 2012 in Vietnam. It will be the first of several Domestos Toilet Academies as part of a global roll-out. The Domestos Toilet Academy will train anyone interested in setting up their own business to source, sell and maintain toilets as a sustainable and long-term approach to improving sanitation in Vietnam. It is modelled on the World Toilet Organization’s Sani-Shop training programmes in Cambodia. The Academy will run month-long accredited courses which will give students the skills and funding they need to set up self-sustaining enterprises that install and maintain toilets.

About the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan(Link opens in a new window)

In November of 2010 Unilever made a company-wide commitment to:

  • Help more than 1 billion people take action to improve their health and well-being

  • Halve the environmental footprint of its products

  • Source 100% of its agricultural raw materials sustainably

Unilever aims to achieve these goals by 2020.

About the World Toilet Organization(Link opens in a new window)

The World Toilet Organization was set up in 2001 by social entrepreneur Jack Sim. The organization’s mission is to improve sanitation conditions for people globally through powerful advocacy, inventive technology, education and building marketplace opportunities locally. The World Toilet Organization has partnered with Unilever’s Domestos since 2009.

About World Toilet Day(Link opens in a new window)

In 2001, the World Toilet Organization declared 19th November World Toilet Day (WTD) to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis, highlighting the health, emotional and psychological consequences the poor endure as a result of inadequate sanitation. Domestos has been working with the World Toilet Organization for three years as the exclusive partner for World Toilet Day.

UNICEF(Link opens in a new window)

UNICEF works in more than 90 countries around the world to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities and to promote safe hygiene practices. To help address the sanitation crisis and promote health through improved hygiene and access to toilets, UNICEF will be partnering with Unilever. More information on the partnership will be announced in January, 2012.

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Unilever NV

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mediarelations.rotterdam@unilever.com

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