Around the world, one in three people live without a safe toilet. Many have no choice but to do their business in the open. Now, the UK’s leading toilet tissue brand Andrex®, with the international development organization WaterAid, wants to change things by announcing a new partnership, where they have committed to improve sanitation facilities in Bangladesh. They want to give communities their dignity and also educate people about hygiene to enable protection from disease. Andrex® has committed to donating at least £100k to Wateraid that will improve sanitation facilities and raise awareness of hygiene and change the lives of communities in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Over 150 million people are crowded onto low-lying land where annual monsoon floods contaminate water sources and leave millions with appalling sanitary conditions.
The country’s geography also provides many challenges. Natural arsenic contaminates groundwater, putting 30 million people at risk. The lowland areas are also susceptible to flooding from seasonal monsoons and cyclones, further damaging the land. In increasingly populated urban areas, slums are home to millions of people who are denied legal water and sanitation supplies, forcing them to live in appalling conditions.
Over 40 percent of its population—that’s more than 63 million people—doesn’t have access to improved sanitation. Sadly, over 4,100 children under five years old die from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. Andrex® and WaterAid believe everyone everywhere should have a clean and safe place to go to the toilet. This basic human right improves people’s health, dignity and wellbeing
Businesses can play a vital role in bringing about behaviour change at scale to address some of the world’s biggest development issues, not just through philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, but by aligning business growth to wider social and environmental benefits. As a result of this partnership, up to 100,000 visits to clean and safe community toilets will be made possible in the first 12 months of this project. Many of the toilets are currently not fit for purpose, so the partnership will construct and refurbish new facilities.
Today, cities like Dhaka should be a place for sustainable lifestyles offering healthy living, good infrastructure, wellbeing and economic growth. Yet, the sad reality is that one person in every five living in a town or city does not have access to a toilet or good sanitation. Many live in poverty in overcrowded, rapidly expanding informal settlements. Not only does this lead to a lack of dignity for women and girls and health risks to poor families, this lack of sanitation also threatens the health and security of all city dwellers and leads to pollution of rivers and water sources. Therefore, partnerships like this one are vital to ending extreme poverty, as building a healthier more prosperous future cannot be done without clean water, safe toilets and good hygiene.
Photo Credit: WaterAid