Domex, the toilet cleaner brand of Hindustan Unilever Lever (HUL), has launched Domex Toilet Academy to mark the occasion of World Toilet Day which is celebrated globally on November 19 every year.

The academy aims to build 24,000 toilets by 2015 in areas faced with the problem of open defecation and where people do not have access to improved sanitation.

The academy’s ambition is to help eradicate open defecation and thus achieve 100 per cent access to improved sanitation and educate people about the importance of safe and hygienic sanitation practices.

Hemant Bakshi, Executive Director-Home & Personal Care, HUL, said: “We believe that we have an important role to play to help make our communities open defecation free. This initiative is part of Domex’s mission to reduce diarrhoea deaths in children under the age of 5 by eradicating open defecation in India.”

Pilot project

It has launched a pilot project in Junapani, a village in Wardha district in Maharashtra, to make it open defecation free. The academy has already set up toilets benefitting several households in the village and is working to set up 80 toilets by the end of 2013.

The programme will be expanded to cover 1,200 villages in Maharashtra and Odisha and aims to build 24,000 toilets by 2015.

Domex toilet academy

For the Domex Toilet Academy, Domex has partnered eKutir Rural Management Services Pvt Ltd, a well-established social enterprise with strong execution capabilities in the area of sanitation. The project is based on a unique community partnership model to make this project scalable and self-sustainable.

Both will identify and train local micro-entrepreneurs who will help execute the project in their local communities by supplying and installing latrines.

The academy will work with local self-help groups who educate people on the importance of proper sanitation and provide them access to micro-loans through micro-finance institutions to buy the toilets from the local micro-entrepreneur appointed by it.

Open defecation

The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) estimate that there are more than 620 million people practising open defecation due to lack of access to proper sanitation.

In fact, 60 per cent of all open defecations in the world are in India. As per the 2011 census data, the percentage of households in rural India with access to toilets is lesser compared to those with access to telephones.

Priyanka.pani@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 18, 2013)
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