Unilever and PSI partner to improve hygiene and clean water in Vietnam

September 26, 2012 | 16:24
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Unilever in Vietnam and Population Services International Vietnam last week announced a partnership to improve hygienic habits and access to clean water to prevent diarrhea among communities without access to piped water in the Mekong Delta.

The partnership is a integral part of the Framework Agreement between Unilever and Population Services International (PSI) signed on June 22, according to which Unilever and PSI have worked together in a partnership in furtherance of achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular MDG 4, focused on hand washing, cleaning drinking water and sanitation.

Under the partnership, PSI Vietnam with the financial support of Unilever Vietnam will implement social marketing and behaviour change communications activities to improve rural access to household water treatment product at an affordable price and to motivate the adoption of diarrhea prevention behaviours including household water treatment and hand washing with soap.

The water and sanitation partnership will help prevent water-borne diseases through improved access to affordable household water treatment products and improved knowledge regarding the importance of hand washing with soap amongst vulnerable populations.  By the end of the programme, it is expected that the target population will increase the correct and consistent use of safe water treatment products as well as hand-washing with soap at the critical junctures, especially, decrease diarrheal incidence among children under the age five.

In the first year, the programme is expected to help 5,000 rural children to learn correct hygiene habits and provide 7,000 rural women with health and hygiene knowledge, including correct hand washing with soap, helping to realise the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan in Vietnam.  

Preventable water-borne diseases, such as dysentery and diarrhea are a particular threat to the weakest members of society: a child dies from water-related illness every 20 seconds. In Vietnam, problems related to water and sanitation negatively affect public health even more. Unsafe water and sanitation account for half of most communicable diseases in Vietnam.

Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing officer, said: “In July 2010, the United Nations declared that safe and clean drinking water is a human right; we share this belief and have made a public and ambitious commitment through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan to provide safe drinking water to 500 million people by 2020. But to overcome a challenge of this scale, we cannot achieve this change alone, we need to work in partnership.”

By Kieu Linh


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