Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and HSBC India announced the launch of five more Suvidha Centres in Mumbai in partnership with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Suvidha Centres are set up to provide access to safe toilets, drinking water, showers and laundromat to people residing in low human development areas in Mumbai.
The centres are designed to be safe for women and girls with features such as 24x7 security, CCTV cameras, adequate lighting and a panic button connected to the main alarm. Moreover, the centres are run by staff hired from the community. Suvidha Centres employ more than 300 individuals with 65% being women.
Suvidha Centres operationally break even within one year of launch. The profits generated by the services is ploughed back into centre maintenance. HUL also undertakes an extensive behaviour change programme on health and nutrition through home-to-home visits in the communities around the centre.
External impact assessment study* affirms the effectiveness of Suvidha model in promoting better health and self-esteem among users. Over 70% users reported improved self-esteem, and the model has shown a 44% reduction in diarrhoea incidence compared to non-Suvidha users. More than 90% users find Suvidha safe for women and children.
Moreover, keeping sustainability at the core, the centres are designed to operate on solar power and cumulatively will save nearly 50 million litres of water every year through reusing treated wastewater and rainwater harvesting.
Dr Iqbal Singh Chahal, Commissioner, BMC, Mumbai, said, “Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) and HSBC India announced the launch of five more Suvidha Centres in Mumbai, in partnership with the BMC. The centres are safe for women and girls with features such as 24x7 security, CCTV cameras, adequate lighting, and a panic button. Over the years, HUL and HSBC India have been instrumental in making safe and dignified sanitation accessible to citizens in Mumbai. There are a total of 12 centres in Mumbai. The Suvidha Centre model is one that can be replicated on a large scale, both nationally and internationally to make quality sanitation and hygiene facilities for all a reality.”
Mr Sanjiv Mehta, CEO and Managing Director, HUL, said, “Our Suvidha Centres exemplify how innovation and collective action by the public and private sectors can help address urban sanitation challenges and make a big difference to the society. Launched as a small pilot in 2016, Suvidha now impacts more than 3,00,000 people every year. The launch of five new centres in 2023, in partnership with HSBC India and the BMC, is an important development in our journey towards enabling access to safe sanitation for all.’’
Mr Hitendra Dave, CEO, HSBC India, said, “Our partnership with HUL helps underscore the role that we can play in unleashing a positive impact on communities that are combating pressing problems of urban sanitation. We’re keen to build on the success and momentum created by this initiative in an effort to provide safe sanitation across communities. I look forward to the continued support and involvement of various stakeholders in ensuring the amplified outreach and success of this initiative.”
Additional details about the Suvidha centre
- There are a total of 12 centres in Mumbai – Andheri (1), Ghatkopar (3), Malad (1), Govandi (2), Chembur (1), Trombay (1), Kurla (1), Dharavi (2).
- The project is supported by on ground partners such as Pratha Samajik Sanstha and United Way Mumbai, EY and numerous technical partners.
- They are built in close consultation with the communities and members of the community are integrally involved in running and managing the day-to-day functioning of the centre.
Impact Assessment Study on Suvidha Centres by Research Triangle Institute, Ipsos & Kantar, 2021 and 2023