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UNICEF Corporate and Philanthropic Partnerships


Sato Pan

LIXIL and UNICEF have launched an ambitious partnership with an innovative approach to tackling the global sanitation crisis. UNICEF is a key proponent of behaviour change to end open defecation that spreads illness and disease. LIXIL is a global leader in water and housing products and has developed affordable and workable toilet solutions for underserved markets in Africa and Asia. Together, UNICEF and LIXIL aim to make a significant contribution to the global effort to provide basic sanitation for 250 million people by 2021.

Children and Sanitation

When children have access to basics, like a toilet, they have the option to adopt healthy habits that can protect them from illness and disease throughout their life and especially in their early vulnerable years. Water and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of preventable death for children under five years old. Every day, around 800 children die from preventable diseases caused by poor water, and a lack of sanitation and hygiene. Ending open defecation, when people urinate or defecate by the side of a road or behind a bush, is an essential first step to protecting the lives of millions of the poorest and most vulnerable children and allow them to live with dignity.

The facts

Open defecation is one of the clearest signs of extreme poverty and inequality, yet 1 in 3 people on the planet do not have access to a decent toilet. Some 892 million people have no choice but to defecate in the open. Every year, 288 000 children under 5 years of age die due to diarrhea- related illnesses – that’s about 41 preventable deaths every hour. To eliminate open defecation by 2030, the world must triple current efforts – meaning not only by providing more toilets, but also creating the desire for people to use them.


This is the first global shared-value partnership with UNICEF in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector. The partnership builds on UNICEF and LIXIL’s respective strengths to deliver on our shared ambition to tackle the global sanitation crisis. UNICEF works in over 100 countries worldwide to improve access to clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices. But staff felt the effectiveness of that work is too often restricted by a lack of affordable sanitation, especially toilet solutions, for communities exposed to the WASH message.
At the same time, LIXIL has been looking at ways to provide basic sanitation to some of the world’s poorest households and communities, including through its SATO Toilet Systems.

The partnership between LIXIL and UNICEF will combine sanitation behaviour change training with access to readily available and affordable sanitation products and includes a commitment to support affordable finance for the purchase and installation of sanitation wares.

By working together, UNICEF and LIXIL aim to demonstrate that there are sustainable market-driven solutions to the global sanitation crisis and want to see open and fair markets for sanitation products that meet consumer needs and budgets. “Lixil is the world’s biggest player in water technology – our technology moves water in and out of people’s homes every day,” said Jin Song Montesano, LIXIL’s Chief Public Affairs Officer. “Our job is to understand how to do this effectively, efficiently and at a price point people can afford.”

As an integrated partnership, LIXIL has also committed to find ways to work with affiliated companies and its employees to boost contributions to UNICEF in support of country programmes. “Businesses understand that “doing good” is “good business”; that the best way to create ‘shared value’ is to support healthier, better-educated and more prosperous populations,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore at a recent meeting in Geneva.

Sato Pan in Kenya

A brighter future starts with a toilet: stories from the field

Joseph Kyambo Muia recently learned how basic toilets can help to keep him and his family healthy, following UNICEF campaigns and awareness-raising in his village. He decided to invest in a new toilet. “Before the latrine was so full of flies. Now it is very clean and we can keep it clean very easily – they are very easy to maintain,” Mr Muia, a 72-year-old small holder in rural Kenya told UNICEF.

Covering over the old pit-latrines with the specially designed toilet pans make mean they’re much safer for children, instilling good sanitation practices from a young age. “My grandchildren can go to the toilet on their own now as there is no danger of them falling in the toilet,” added Mr Muia. “Before we were worried they would fall in and get lost.”

Though funds are tight, Mr Muia considers the money was well spent and would encourage his neighbours to follow his lead. “I almost got them for free – all I provided was the unskilled labour, about 500 Kenyan shillings (US$5) and 3 or 4 kilos of cement. At that minimal cost I could probably convince my neighbours to do the same.” Japeth Ndutho Kioli, who lives nearby, agrees that installing a basic toilet is money well spent. “The cost was not so much,” said Mr Kioli. “For the same money I could have perhaps bought a shirt – but I prefer the new toilet as it gives me confidence there will be no diseases. The shirt, I can get that later!”




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