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UNICEF and Unilever to improve school hygiene

Yangon, 24 October 2013UNICEF and UNILEVER signed a partnership agreement to launch an initiative titled ‘Creating Hygienic Environments in Schools' to contribute toward better hygiene and health for children by improving water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure across 12 schools in Pauk Khaung Township in Bago region to benefit approximately 1,500 children.

Ms. Shalini Bahuguna, Deputy Representative, UNICEF Myanmar and U Zaw Myo Hlaing, Country Director for Unilever Myanmar Limited signed the agreement on 23 October 2013 in the UNICEF Myanmar Office.

“We are pleased to join hands with Unilever for 'Creating Hygienic Environment in Schools for Children in Myanmar'. Schools with poor sanitary conditions and intense levels of person-to-person contact are high-risk environments for children and staff, and worsen children’s particular vulnerability to environmental health hazards. The construction or renovation of facilities in schools will allow for hygiene education to be practiced, and students can take the good health messages home to their siblings and even parents,” said Shalini Bahuguna, UNICEF Myanmar Deputy Representative.

The intervention will contribute towards reducing water and excreta-related diseases caused by polluted water and poor hygienic conditions. The improved, hygienic and functioning WASH facilities at schools will also allow students to learn in a clean environment and practice important hygiene lessons they learn in school.

“At the heart of Unilever’s 80-year-long global business ambition is its Sustainable Living Plan, one of the three pillars of which aims to help more than one billion people all over the world to improve their health and well-being. Funded by the global Unilever Foundation, the partnership between UNICEF and Unilever is focused on positively assisting Myanmar’s children, their families and communities by offering better hygiene and healthy living options.” U Zaw Myo Hlaing said.

The gaps in sanitation, hygiene and supply of clean water in Myanmar render other health goals difficult to meet. Incidences of diarrhoea in Myanmar have grown by 46% over seven years1, partly attributable to the high ratio of school children per latrine, and subsequent poor hygiene behaviour. Less than 60% of schools in a UNICEF sample survey in 20102 reported adequate water supplies and student-latrine ratio stood at 69:1 (while 1:25 is the recommended ratio). Although the study found most schools to have some hand washing facilities, only 12.5% had regular water supply, which implies toilet use and hand-washing were not possible most of the time.

Notes to Editors:

[1] MICS 2003 compared to MICS 2010.

2 WASH in Schools Survey, UNICEF Myanmar, October 2010

 

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org.

About Unilever

Unilever works to create a better future every day.  We help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong operations in more than 100 countries. Our products are sold in more than 190 countries with 2 billion consumers worldwide using a Unilever product on any given day. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including twelve €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we operate.

Unilever’s operations in Myanmar go back more than 80 years. The company has re-entered the Myanmar market by registering for manufacturing and marketing consumer products while at the same time, playing a pivotal role as a strong investor in Myanmar’s development. By 2015, Unilever expects to provide direct and indirect employment for over 2,000 people.

For more information please visit www.sustainable-living.unilever.com. For more information about Unilever, please visit www.unilever.com.

 

For more information, please contact:

Zafrin Chowdhury, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: 01-230 5960-9

Ye Lwin Oo, Communication Officer, UNICEF Myanmar, Tel: 01-230 5960-9, email: ylwinoo@unicef.org

Soe Theingi Kyaw, External Affairs Department, Unilever Myanmar Limited, Tel: 01-545167, 01-430024, Email: soe-theingi.kyaw@unilever.com

 

 
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