HUL unveils first-of-its-kind urban hygiene & sanitation community centre

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HUL’s health and well-being programmes have benefited over 125 million people

India CSR News Network

MUMBAI: Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has unveiled a first-of-its-kind urban water, hygiene and sanitation community centre in Azad Nagar, Ghatkopar one of the largest slums in Mumbai. HUL CEO and MD Sanjiv Mehta on 21 November, 2016 inaugurated the centre.

The centre, named Suvidha, is a purpose-built, sustainable community centre which addresses the hygiene needs of low income urban households who face severe challenges due to lack of infrastructure and facilities. The centre provides toilets that flush, handwashing facilities with soap, clean showers, safe drinking water and state-of-the-art laundry operations at an affordable cost. Suvidha will cater to over 1,500 people living in the area.

Sanjiv Mehta said, “There is an urgent need for innovative solutions that work at scale to address the challenges of rapid urbanization in India, particularly for the less privileged sections of society. Suvidha is a unique community initiative that aims to address the key challenge of providing people with easy and affordable access to quality hygiene and sanitation facilities in a sustainable manner. The centre would not have been possible without the support of Pratha Samajik Sanstha, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the local community.”

Suvidha (which means ‘facility’ in Hindi) uses circular economy principles to reduce water use. Fresh water is first used for brushing teeth, bathing, handwashing and laundry. The waste water from these activities becomes the input for flushing toilets. This will help save an estimated ten million litres of water per annum.

The launch of Suvidha on World Toilet Day (November 19) reinforces Unilever’s commitment to helping 25 million people gain improved access to toilets by 2020. Together with its partners, Unilever has helped over five million people gain access to a toilet through behaviour change interventions and capacity building initiatives since 2012.

In Bihar, for example, our Domex Toilet Academies (DTAs), in partnership with PSI and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have helped build over 70,000 toilets in rural households impacting 350,000 people.

Last year, HUL launched the Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat (Clean Habits Clean India) programme in line with the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) to promote good health and hygiene practices. The Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat programme educates people on the need to adopt three simple good habits – washing hands five times a day, using toilets for defecation and adopting safe drinking water practices.

These initiatives are in line with the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan global ambition of helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being. Since 2010, we have helped over 125 million people through our health and well-being programmes in India. Lifebuoy’s handwashing behaviour change programme has reached over 65 million people in India and Pureit has provided more than 70 billion litres of safe drinking water.

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is India’s largest Fast Moving Consumer Goods company with its products touching the lives of nine out of ten households in India. HUL works to create a better future every day.

Suvidha centre has been launched on a pilot basis with the aim to provide a holistic approach to address the inter-connected issues of poor hygiene, lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation in urban areas.

With a population of 1.3 billion, India faces immense urbanisation pressures. Its slum population has more than doubled in ten years, from 43 million in 2001 to 93 million in 2011. It is projected to grow at 5% per year, adding nearly two million people each year. With this growth come significant challenges for communities to access water, sanitation and hygiene. Improving access to these basic needs is essential to lifting people out of poverty and saving lives.

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