Clean water, basic hygiene and sanitation – collectively referred to as WASH – are essential for the survival and dignity of people around the world. Despite being a basic human right, clean water and adequate sanitation is tragically not available to millions around the world; especially the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.
It is hard to imagine that today there are around 2.4 billion people who do not have access to improved sanitation, and 663 million who do not have access to improved water sources (1). Without these basic requirements, the lives of millions of children are at risk. Children under the age of five are especially at risk, as water- and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of death. Every day, over 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by poor water and a lack of sanitation and hygiene. (2)
Angola, a country of roughly 23 million people in Southern Africa, has tried to move forward after 27 years of brutal civil war yet remains a struggling country with high levels of poverty, maternal and children under age five mortality rates, and one of the worst sanitation problems in the world. The most recent National Census figures (2014) report that more than 10 million people lack access to improved sanitation, with the majority of the unserved living in rural areas, where only one in four has access to adequate basic sanitary services (3). Open defecation rates average 40 percent nationally, with 74 percent open defecation found in rural areas. Only 36 percent of the population report that they wash their hands after defecation. As a result, contamination remains widespread in Angola, with frequent cholera outbreaks and a high level of deaths in children under age five caused by caused by diarrhoeal diseases – the vast majority of these caused by poor sanitation and hygiene . The good news is that this can be improved and lives can be saved.
Andrex®, the UK’s leading toilet tissue brand, is partnering with UNICEF, the world’s leading children’s organisation, to help tackle the sanitation problem in Angola. The Andrex® and UNICEF partnership is funding a Community Led Total Sanitation programme in Angola that provides knowledge and resources for children and their families about the importance of sanitation and helps them build their own clean, safe toilets. With knowledge and resources, communities are empowered to develop their own clean and safe toilets stopping the spread of dangerous, often fatal disease and also providing people with dignity and respect
Tom Berry, head of sustainability for EMEA at Kimberly-Clark commented:
“Every child deserves a safe and clean toilet. Lack of basic sanitation affects people’s dignity and escalates the spread of life-threatening diseases that can be fatal to children and their families. My recent trip to Angola highlighted how people are positively affected by partnerships like this. In the three-year partnership, Andrex® and UNICEF are aiming to raise £600,000 and impact over 180,000 lives in Angola.”