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UNICEF and Unilever partner to help improve sanitation to rural communities in Viet Nam

Ha Noi, 6 September 2012 - The Unilever Foundation and Domestos (equivalent to Vim in Viet Nam) have recently joined forces with UNICEF to support UNICEF’s Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) programme in Viet Nam, which aims to improve access to basic sanitation for Vietnamese rural populations. According to the agreement, Vim will contribute VND 1,100 from the sale of each specially marked Vim bottle in Viet Nam to support UNICEF’s CATS programme. The initiative will last until 30 September 2012 in Viet Nam.

Around the world, poor sanitation remains a major threat to development, impacting countries’ progress in health, education, gender equity, and social and economic development. Today there are still an estimated 2.5 billion people without access to improved sanitation. These people are put at risk of sanitation-related diseases, resulting in millions of deaths each year.

In Viet Nam, more than one in four people do not have access to proper latrines (26 per cent). The situation is worse for ethnic minority groups as more than half of them do not have access to proper latrines . “Proper latrine does not necessarily mean that everyone has to have a nice bathroom with a flush toilet. It just means a place that is safe to dispose of your faeces, a place that will keep the faeces from getting into the environment, and that will help prevent children from getting sick”, says Ms. Nguyen Thanh Hien, Water and Sanitation Specialist of UNICEF Viet Nam.

UNICEF has been supporting the Government of Viet Nam to carry out the Community Approach to Total Sanitation (CATS), which includes Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), School Led Total Sanitation (SLTS) and Sanitation Marketing (Sanmark).

“The approaches are people-focused, which means we work directly with people and school children to stimulate and encourage change. When the commitment is strong among the community, CATS provides them with knowledge of various technology options to build the most suitable latrines and helps ensure availability of sanitation facilities in the communities”, adds Ms. Nguyen Thanh Hien, Water and Sanitation Specialist of UNICEF Viet Nam.

“As one of the leading toilet hygiene brands, Domestos/Vim has a real commitment to improving sanitation. The brand’s support of UNICEF is just one example of how we are delivering increased social value as part of our growth strategy”, says Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever.

With support from the Unilever Foundation and Domestos/Vim, UNICEF will be able to achieve greater scale and impact in promoting good hygiene practices, helping create demand for access to toilets and raising awareness of the sanitation crisis. Through the support of the Unilever Foundation and Domestos/Vim, the partnership with UNICEF will contribute to changing the behaviours of hundreds of thousands of people through sanitation programmes.  In this first year, these programmes will result in an estimated 400,000 people living in open defecation-free communities across nine countries:  Gambia, Ghana, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan and Viet Nam.



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