Domestos and UNICEF making quality sanitation a reality

Domestos and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will once again be rolling out their programme to strengthen the capacity of South African schools through the provision of improved sanitation.

south africa domestos bottle with a-kid 290816

In the fourth year of their global partnership, they aim to leverage on UNICEF’s global programme of advancing the health and wellbeing of children worldwide.

In its first three years, the partnership reached over half a million learners with behaviour-change sanitation programmes. To date 655,000 people are now living in open defecation-free communities, allowing them to benefit from improved health and safety – thus giving them back their dignity. In South Africa, Domestos aims to give over 2 million people improved access to sanitation by 2020.

To date, over 500 000 children have been impacted, through the brand’s sanitation programmes. As part of this programme, Domestos will be running a campaign, between August and October 2016, where it will donate 5% from every bottle that is purchased, towards UNICEF’s sanitation programmes.

Peter Cowan, Chairman of Unilever SA, says, “There are currently more than 475 schools lacking basic water and sanitation facilities in South Africa. The Department of Basic Education has highlighted that this backlog would require R88-billion to address. As such, Domestos is working to address this challenge by contributing the proceeds to UNICEF. “

Water and sanitation-related diseases such as diarrhoea remain the biggest killers of children across the globe. Accounting for 9% of all deaths among children under the age 5 worldwide in 2015, these infections continue to prevail as 18 million* South Africans do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The partnership between Unilever and UNICEF aims to address this situation.

UNICEF’s representative to South Africa, Herve Ludovic de Lys, notes that “Water and sanitation-related diseases remain among the world’s biggest killers, especially of children. But sanitation is about more than just building toilets - it starts with basic hygiene and personal care. At least 2.5 billion people in the world still do not have access to adequate sanitation, almost two fifths of the world's population. Everyone can play their part by supporting the course and save lives”.

According to the World Health Organisation, without proper toilet facilities, one child dies every 15 seconds from diseases such as diarrhoea, caused by oral faecal contamination. This partnership between Unilever and UNICEF is an integral part of Domestos’ efforts to address South Africa’s sanitation challenge. Mr Cowan adds, “As Unilever’s leading toilet hygiene brand, Domestos is uniquely positioned to play a role in addressing the sanitation challenge faced by the country as part of the company’s commitment to deliver increased social value through its brands with a purpose that in turn drive company growth.

The partnership supports UNICEF’s global sanitation programme, which Domestos is backing as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The programme addresses the demand for improved sanitation at the community level through the use of demonstrations explaining the link between open defecation and disease-causing germs – encouraging families to make the decision to change their sanitation practices”.

Both UNICEF and Unilever recognise that public-private partnerships are necessary to address global and national sanitation challenges and this Domestos initiative is a good example of such engagement.

*2014 Water & Sanitation Report by the South African Human Rights Commission

About Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

In November 2010 the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was launched. Unilever publicly committed to a 10-year journey towards sustainable growth, with around 60 specific targets embedding this new thinking into our business. What makes the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan different is that it applies right across the value chain. Unilever is taking responsibility not just for its own direct operations but for their suppliers, distributors and consumers.

The plan sets out that by 2030 Unilever will:

  • help more than one billion people improve their health and well-being;
  • halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products;
  • enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

About Domestos

Domestos has helped protect families from germs for more than 80 years.

  • Today, Domestos is sold in 65 countries around the world. It is sold across Western, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and much of Asia. It is the market leader for toilet cleaners in countries including South Africa, UK, Poland, Russia, and Turkey.
  • Domestos is Unilever’s leading toilet hygiene brand, and has been committed to helping protect families from germs for more than 80 years. As such, the brand is uniquely positioned to address the sanitation crisis.
  • Domestos’ commitment to deliver more social value is just one action Unilever is taking to meet its goal of helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, and in turn, create a sustainable future.


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. UNICEF is funded by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

UNICEF works around the world to improve water supplies and sanitation facilities in schools and communities, and to promote safe hygiene practices. The organisation sponsors a wide range of activities and works with many partners, including families, communities, governments and like- minded organisations. All UNICEF water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes are designed to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals on water and sanitation. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit

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