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Health & hygiene

In the area of health and hygiene, through our water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives we focus on behaviour change programmes. Some of our home and personal care brands like Lifebuoy (handwashing programme), Domex (improved sanitation) and Pureit (providing safe drinking water) spearhead these behaviour change programmes across India. Our efforts in the area of health and hygiene have so far reached over 130 million people in India.

Reducing diarrhoeal and respiratory disease through handwashing

Every year, in India, 1.3 million children die before they reach the age of five, many due to preventable infections. Handwashing with soap has been cited as one of the most cost-effective solutions to address this challenge1. A review of several studies show that the simple act of handwashing in institutions, such as primary schools and day care centres, reduces the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases by an average of 30 per cent.

Our Lifebuoy handwashing behaviour change initiatives help in promoting the benefits of handwashing with soap at key times during the day and encouraging people to sustain good handwashing behaviours. Till date, we have reached out to over 63 million people in India.

Global Handwashing Day

Every year, on 15 October, we celebrate Global Handwashing Day (GHD) to spread the message about the importance of handwashing habits among school children. On the occasion of GHD, our employees reach out to children in schools across India. HUL factory employees too spend a day with children in rural schools to create awareness about handwashing. The programme highlights include storytelling, interactive games and taking a pledge to drive the importance of handwashing with soap at five key times during the day.

In 2016, HUL reached out to over 1,80,000 children across 66 schools in 22 cities of India. Over 2,500 HUL employees across factories and offices took time off to spend a day with school children to create awareness about handwashing.

Providing safe drinking water

In the developing world, 80% diseases are water-related. The World Health Organization states that the provision of safe water alone will reduce diarrhoeal diseases by up to 50%. Our Pureit water purifiers have been working towards making safe water accessible and affordable to millions. Pureit’s most affordable range of purifiers provide safe drinking water at a running cost of just 30 paisa per litre without the hassles of boiling, or need of electricity or a continuous tap water supply. In India, Pureit has provided over 74 billion litres of safe drinking water till date.

Improving access to sanitation

Approximately 792 million Indians live without improved sanitation, of which, some 597 million people continue to defecate in the open. These statistics clearly show the scale and complexity of the problem in India. There is critical need to improve access to sanitation facilities. Launched in 2014, Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) is a unique market-based entrepreneurial model created by HUL to bring a positive impact on the health and well-being of the community while enhancing livelihoods. Currently operational in Bihar, it is a market facilitation project to increase sanitation coverage and encourage safe and hygienic use of a toilet.

DTA works in partnership with Population Services International (PSI) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The programme trains entrepreneurs and masons to supply, install and maintain toilets for local households; builds supply chains for sanitation hardware; provides access to micro-financing and creates demand for sanitation in underserved communities. It thus provides jobs while promoting the importance of safe and hygienic sanitation practices in local communities. Since inception, DTA has trained more than 500 micro-entrepreneurs. Over a lakh of toilets have been built benefiting over six lakh people.

Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat

Our ‘Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat’ (SASB) programme is in line with Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) to promote good health and hygiene practices. In 2016, the programme continued to promote good health and hygiene practices by stressing the need to adopt three simple good habits (‘Swachh Aadat’) – washing hands five times a day, using a toilet for defecation and adopting safe drinking water practices.

Swachhata Doot (messenger of cleanliness)

HUL launched a mobile-led rural behaviour change communication model, wherein the factory workers become agents of behaviour change in their villages. These HUL employees, called as Swachhata Doots (messengers of cleanliness), share two-minute audio stories on clean habits through their mobile phones. They reach out to schoolchildren, parents and community members thereby positively impacting rural communities. Through this programme, we have successfully reached over 30 lakh people.

Suvidha – The community hygiene centre

HUL has built a first-of-its-kind urban water, hygiene and sanitation community centre named ‘Suvidha’ in Azad Nagar, Ghatkopar, in one of the largest slums in Mumbai. The centre addresses the hygiene needs of 1,500 people from low-income urban households who face severe challenges due to lack of infrastructure and facilities. It provides toilets that flush, handwashing facilities with soap, clean showers, safe drinking water and laundry facilities at significantly lower costs than market.

Suvidha centre uses circular economy principles to reduce water use. Fresh water is first used for brushing teeth, bathing, handwashing and laundry. The waste water from these activities becomes the input for flushing toilets. The centre also promotes a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. There are separate entrances for women and girls, which can be accessed at night. A secure and safe children’s play area has been built on the roof.

Improve self-esteem

Dove has supported women to see beauty as a source of confidence and not anxiety. However, anxiety over appearance keeps girls from being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships, and even performance at school. For more than 10 years, we’ve been helping young people with self-esteem education, reaching over three lakh people so far.

The main contributors to our success have been our partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and scaling our digital presence in spreading awareness to build self-esteem among girls. In 2016, we helped in building the body confidence of around eight thousand young girls across five cities.


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