Friday, 4 July 2014

Unilever extends support to cut down on open defecation

(c) UNICEF Indonesia/2014/Silitonga

JAKARTA, 4th July 2014 – The Unilever Indonesia Foundation and UNICEF are further strengthening their collaboration in addressing the country’s challenges in terms of safe water and sanitation.

After a first contribution of €100,000 in 2013, the Foundation has now donated €200,000 to the UNICEF WASH programme which aims at ending open defecation and improving hygienic practices in Indonesia.

“The costs of poor sanitation in terms of ill health and lost labour in Indonesia are enormous,” said Sancoyo Antarikso, Director and Corporate Secretary of Unilever Indonesia, during the handover ceremony in Jakarta. “According to the latest estimates they amount to 29 trillion Rupiah (3.3 billion USD) per year.”

UNICEF Representative Angela Kearney reminded the audience that the country has a long way ahead, given that Indonesia has the second highest number in the world of people practicing open defecation – 54 million.

“We will make sure that the new President puts improving sanitation high up on his agenda.”
Poor sanitation and hygiene lead to an increase in diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases, a major killer of children.

The Government of Indonesia’s goal is to eliminate open defecation and ensure everyone has access to clean water and sanitation by 2019.

 “Supporting sanitation and hygiene provides a foundation upon which to build better health for today’s communities and those of the next generation,” Angela Kearney said.

The money will be used to support Indonesia’s STBM programme, a Community Based Total Sanitation programme, with UNICEF focussing especially on defecation-free villages and hand washing with soap.

The donation will also support the “Clean Indonesia Movement” initiative which aims for clean public areas, including schools. 

Improving sanitation and hygiene in schools is a key component to ensuring children are healthy and can perform well in school.