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Unilever Foundation and UNICEF partner for Health

UNICEF South Africa/2012
© UNICEF South Africa/2012
UNICEF South Africa Representative, Aida Girma and Chairman of Unilever South Africa, Marijn Van Tiggelen.

Durban, 31 October 2012 – The Unilever Foundation and UNICEF today joined forces to promote behaviour change related to hygiene and sanitation practices, and strengthen the capacity of school and health professionals in South Africa. Unilever’s commitment of approximately R20 million over the next three years will help to impact the lives of an estimated 20% of South Africa’s total population.

“Public-private partnerships are crucial to advancing the agenda for children. Only a focused, collective effort will ensure that South Africa’s children and young people benefit from improvements in access and services,” said the Representative of UNICEF in South Africa, Aida Girma.

Building on UNICEF’s strong collaboration with Government and civil society partners in education and health, the three-year commitment will help deliver transformational change that aims to impact millions of lives in South Africa.  It includes a focus on community health care strengthening and the training of Community Care Givers (CCG), as part of reforms to the country’s primary health care system.  CCGs outreach to women and children via monthly home visits to promote family care, health and sanitation and hygiene awareness/practices. It is anticipated that these collective efforts will touch about 1.6 million lives in the first year.

“Unilever is committed to addressing the unmet social needs that our business can play a unique role in helping to solve.  We aim to double the size of our business while reducing our environmental impact and deliver increased social value.  Together with our partners, we aim to deliver life-saving solutions as we work towards achieving these ambitious goals” said Marijn Van Tiggelen, Chairman Unilever South Africa.

The partnership is also in support of the implementation of the recently launched Integrated School Health Programme, which aims to make health screening and promotion accessible to children. Ultimately reaching 2 300 teachers, it strives to expand the scope of school health nurses to include the integration of hygiene and sanitation in their training and job resources.

Simultaneous support will be aimed at educators and older peers, to promote positive hygiene and sanitation practices in schools, with an estimated reach of 689 000 people in year one.

“At the heart of all this is a fundamental regard for children and young people as agents of change – active participants who play a key role in health and hygiene promotion in their own schools and communities,” said the Representative of UNICEF in South Africa, Aida Girma.

“The Unilever Foundation is supporting UNICEF SA scale up efforts to ultimately reach millions of people with health-promoting interventions” she added.

Launched in early 2012, the Unilever Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life through the provision of hygiene, sanitation, access to clean drinking water, basic nutrition and enhancing self-esteem.   The Unilever Foundation is one action Unilever is taking to help meet its Unilever Sustainable Living Plan goal of helping more than 1 billion people improve their health and well-being, and in turn, create a sustainable future.

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan
In November 2010 the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan was launched. Unilever publicly committed to a ten year journey towards sustainable growth, with around 60 specific targets embedding this new thinking into our business. What makes the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan different is that it applies right across the value chain. Unilever is taking responsibility not just for its own direct operations but for their suppliers, distributors and – crucially – for how consumers use brands like Dove, Knorr, Lipton, Lifebuoy and Pureit.
The plans sets out that by 2020 Unilever will:

  • help more than one billion people improve their health and well-being; 
  • halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products; 
  • source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

Statement made by Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative at the launch of the partnership [PDF]



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