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School loos get a makeover

Access to adequate sanitation is a fundamental right, but for a large percentage of South African schools improved hygiene conditions still remain a distant reality.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a child under the age of five dies every 15 seconds due to diseases caused by poor or no sanitation.

It is estimated that nearly 1.5 million children die every year of diarrhea. Approximately 133 million children under the age of five will die before the end of 2030. In 2007 the child mortality rate in South Africa accounted for more than 40 000 children or one child every 15 minutes. 

To date, the state of sanitation in underprivileged schools remains dismal. Realising that the state of sanitation won’t change overnight, Unilever SA and its household care brand Domestos have embarked on a Save our Schools campaign in partnership with the Afrisun KZN Community Development Trust to drive awareness of the need for, and the provision of, adequate sanitation in the country

Esikhululiwe Primary School, Crystal Point Secondary School and Waterloo Primary School are among the list of KZN schools targeted with the campaign where sanitation facilities will be upgraded benefiting more than 3 000 learners collectively. Justin Apsey, Vice President Brand Building Home Care, Unilever South Africa said: “While attendance rates are high among scholars in underprivileged communities in comparison to other developing countries, it remains evident that poor sanitation facilities are a major contributing factor to the school dropout rate.

“A lack of health and hygiene awareness coupled with inadequate sanitation facilities and infrastructure impact negatively on the health of the community and ultimately the environment.

“Our valued partnership with Afrisun KZN Trust seeks to break the cycle of infection and poor hygiene practices using education at grassroots level as the driving force.”

“Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan launched in November 2010 has set a bold target to help more than a billion people to improve their hygiene habits by 2020.

The Afrisun KZN Trust is engaged in the investment of resources and capital for community development and it considers the infrastructural needs of schools an important element.

Vivian Reddy, Afrisun KZN Trust Chairman said: “Without proper knowledge of the hygiene and sanitation conditions and infrastructure requirements in our schools, it is impossible to change the status quo.

“Our mission is to be a community-oriented development Trust in support of sustainable projects with a view to addressing the socio-economic needs of disadvantaged communities through meaningful partnerships such as the Save our Schools campaign. “We hope to give the schools a new lease of life. A lack of proper sanitation impacts negatively on the lives of children as they fall sick more often.

“This increases the rate of absenteeism, thereby compromising their education and ultimately resulting in unemployment. Our collaboration with Unilever will ensure that this scenario changes slowly but surely.”

Domestos is a proud sponsor of the World Toilet Summit which will take place at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC) from 3 to 6 December. The association with the World Toilet Organisation (WTO) reinforces the fact that Domestos is an authority on sanitation.

Unilever South Africa - Unathi Mgobozi External Affairs Manager

+27 31 570 3000
031 570 2470
Unathi.Mgobozi@unilever.com

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