According to Domestos, 2021's World Toilet Day placed the focus squarely on the global sanitation crisis by raising awareness about the millions of people living without access to safe sanitation facilities.

The brand adds that the UN Sustainable Development Goal Six is to "ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all". The lack of proper sanitation facilities is a scourge that calls for daily focus and attention.

"The sanitation crisis in South Africa is a dire situation as millions of learners daily not only face unsafe poor sanitation at schools but also have to endure an often-dangerous journey to the toilet as well," says Domestos.

In response to the crisis, Unilever and Domestos have been striving to help support the realisation of this goal through a programme that includes the following:
  • The National School Hygiene Programme — it is aimed at supporting the curriculum in 15 000 public primary schools across South Africa by instilling good hygiene and sanitation habits in partnership with the Department of Basic Education.
  • The Cleaner Toilets Brighter Future Programme — this sees cleaners, teachers and the entire school being trained to manage their toilet facilities in a more hygienic and sustainable way. This will ensure high-use facilities retain optimal sanitary levels throughout the day.
  • The Infrastructure Programme — this will be to fund new toilets or refurbish facilities at the most in-need schools around the country.
Since 2010, these programmes have helped over five million learners access cleaner and safer toilets, which would not have been possible without partnerships such as the Department of Basic Education, Designdex, Astratto Engineers and Envirosan, says the brand.

"The initiative was more than just an activation; it was an urgent call-to-action that comes from an understanding of the physical harm that unsafe toilets can pose to learners — including the physical and long-term psychological harm," says Nobuhle Ngubane, senior brand manager at Unilever.

"In some severe cases, children have witnessed, or attend schools where someone has died from falling into a pit latrine. Many others simply grapple with the issue of avoiding the toilet, simply because the conditions are so unbearable," adds Ngubane.

As it seeks to continue this journey, Domestos says that it is taking consumers along and contributing R1 from every 750ml Domestos bottle sold between November 2021 and March 2022. This will go towards providing improved sanitation to a further one million learners in 2022.

"As much as we are able to contribute towards improving sanitation in schools, we can only win this fight against unsafe sanitation if we work together," says Ngubane.

"Not only do we want to work with all partners in the public and private sector — including suppliers for our infrastructure projects — but we need the dedicated involvement of all South Africans to ensure that unsafe sanitation is eliminated at every aspect of society. This is from home to school and beyond," concludes Ngubane. 

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