Millions of people around the world lack access to safe sanitation, clean water and essential hygiene education. This often leads to children dying from preventable diseases, women lacking a safe place to relieve themselves, and women and girls missing work or school because they are unable to effectively manage their periods.
On World Toilet Day, Kimberly-Clark, the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and their NGO partners continue their grassroots initiatives to address this global sanitation crisis and help protect human health, safety, dignity and overall quality of life.
Worldwide, Kimberly-Clark continues to provide access to safe sanitation and clean water through its Toilets Change Lives program. Through consumer awareness, NGO partnerships with Water For People, WaterAid and Plan International, and on-the-ground activations, the program delivers toilets, sanitation education and health to many of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Since its launch eight years ago, the Toilets Change Lives program has impacted more than 7 million users across 15 countries.
“More than 3.6 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation, which not only negatively impacts their health and the environment, but can also prevent them from reaching their full potential,” said Jenny Lewis, Vice President of the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and Chair of the Toilet Board Coalition.
The company aims to serve unmet societal needs and advance the well-being of 1 billion people by 2030 through innovation and programs that deliver essentials to vulnerable and underserved communities around the globe – with the smallest environmental footprint.
Kimberly-Clark focuses on three strategic areas to help unlock the greatest societal benefit and guide its efforts during the coming decade:
- Caring for the health and well-being of people at all stages of life.
- Challenging stigmas and championing the progress of women everywhere.
- Championing a world where all enjoy access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
PARTNERS STRENGTHEN COMMUNITIES WORLDWIDE
Through long-term partnerships with WaterAid and Water For People, the Kimberly-Clark Foundation is working to deliver sustainable access to sanitation, positively impacting communities for generations to come.
WaterAid and the Kimberly-Clark Foundation have worked together in Bangladesh since 2017 to improve community toilets and increase dignity for those who use them in Dhaka, Chattogram and Khulna. Over the past five years, this project has transformed public sanitation services through the construction and management of ten inclusive public toilets across these cities, benefiting pedestrians and commuters – particularly those from low-income communities.
“Toilets save lives,” said Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of WaterAid in the UK. “With COP27 just behind us and a year with flooding in Bangladesh and drought in the Horn, it is becoming clearer by the day that investing in sustainable water and sanitation projects is fundamental to safeguarding people already living on the frontline of climate change. Well managed toilets drive health and people’s productivity at home, at school and at work – especially for women and girls.”
Over the next three years, the Kimberly-Clark Foundation and WaterAid plan to construct five new public toilets and oversee the operation and maintenance of 34 existing public toilets in an effort to provide 8,700,000 uses during this period.
In Latin America, the Kimberly-Clark Foundation’s partnership with Water For People has resulted in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions throughout 20 districts in five countries, including Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. The programs create greater access to WASH services in communities, households and public institutions, including schools and health clinics.
Water For People’s approach to transformative hygiene education, infrastructure work and sanitation initiatives helps reduce the transmission of communicable and preventable diseases like COVID-19 and diarrhea, and these programs have impacted nearly 155,000 people since 2015 in remote areas across Latin America.
TOILET BOARD COALITION ACCELERATOR HELPS SCALE SANITATION BUSINESSES
In addition to the Toilets Change Lives initiative, Kimberly-Clark and its foundation partnered to help found the Toilet Board Coalition in 2015, a business-led membership organization that accelerates business solutions to the global sanitation crisis. The Coalition facilitates vital partnerships between small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), corporates, NGOs, investors and governments who share a goal of achieving access to sanitation and hygiene for all by 2030 (SDG 6.2).
Through its world-renowned Accelerator, the Coalition provides business model design, corporate mentorship and access to investment to Sanitation Economy entrepreneurs serving low-income markets. The Coalition recently announced its new strategy and roadmap to impact 1 billion lives by 2030, scaling its Accelerator graduates from 52 to 1000
“Kimberly-Clark is one of our founding members and actively engages in corporate mentorship at the Toilet Board Coalition Accelerator, providing capacity-building support to sanitation businesses, collaborating for innovation at scale and with purpose,” said Venugopal Gupta, Toilet Board Coalition Managing Director of Acceleration.
As part of Kimberly-Clark’s partnership with the Coalition, the company supports the organization’s Accelerator program, which arms entrepreneurs with capacity-building support to scale sanitation economy businesses. Impacting more than 2.2 million people daily and enabling over $22 million in finance, the Accelerator program develops and promotes the growth and scale of innovative business solutions that address the global sanitation crisis, transform sanitation system economics, and contribute positively to global goals on climate change, human rights, economic growth, public health, food, water and energy security.
Alma Alejandro, the marketing director for global intimate care brands at Kimberly-Clark, grew up in Mexico and experienced the lack of quality access to reliable and safe sanitation at school firsthand. She has also served as a mentor to sanitation entrepreneurs through the Accelerator program.
“Programs like the Toilet Board Coalition Accelerator spark game-changing innovation, empower both the entrepreneurs and the mentors to leverage their strengths and dream big together, and help strengthen communities around the world – including places like where I grew up,” said Alma Alejandro, Marketing Director for Global Intimate Care Brands at Kimberly-Clark. “Ultimately, World Toilet Day is about so much more than just a toilet. Sanitation is a basic human right that no one should ever have to live without.”
Officially designated by the United Nations on Nov. 19, 2013, World Toilet Day was created as an annual observance to raise awareness about the global sanitation crisis and inspire efforts to ‘make the invisible visible.’