Harpic, a household name from the wide range of Reckitt Benckiser brands, announced a hygiene and sanitation programme in association with Save the Children, a leading NGO working for child rights.
The programme is a long lasting initiative to improve the hygiene and sanitation facilities for the most marginalised urban and rural families in India for over four years by increasing access to clean and hygienic sanitation facilities and the knowledge to keep families, particularly girls, healthy.
The activities will contribute to an improved quality way of life for families and their children, and provide them with the dignity and privacy they deserve. The programme will include converting existing toilet complexes to start functioning as community managed toilets, and repair toilet complexes and associated sanitation facilities (drains and dustbins) in urban slums and schools in Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal.
Chander Mohan Sethi, SVP South East Asia added, “As the leading health, hygiene and home company, our responsibility is to support the most vulnerable in the world where we are most able to and that is in health and hygiene. The above activities to improve and increase access to sanitation facilities will be complemented by raising awareness of hygiene practices, and advocacy to the government. RB and Save the Children have reached over 175,000 children, 40,000 women & mothers and 230,000 community members through the “Million Brighter Futures” program globally.”
Thomas Chandy, CEO Save the Children said “Proper sanitation and hygiene are critical to reducing mortality and preventing under-nutrition among children. At least 60 percent of India's population defecate in the open which increases the burden of diseases and death among communities.
Poor sanitation is responsible for vector borne diseases like malaria and diahorrea. In fact, the lack of sanitation is linked with both child protection and education. Most girls drop out from school because of lack of toilets in the school as they don’t feel safe going out in the open. India cannot become a developed country without ensuring that every household and every school has a toilet. It is a basic necessity which we can no longer afford to ignore if we want to have a healthy and productive”.
The programme will be complemented by raising awareness of hygiene practices, and advocacy to the government for replication and scale up of successful practices and pilot projects. With this programme, there lies a unique opportunity to make long lasting changes in the way hygiene and sanitation is perceived in India and to provide the infrastructure to support this.