RB participates in the 18th World Toilet Summit
With an endeavor of providing sustainable and affordable sanitation solutions to eradicate open defecation practices in the world, World Toilet Organization (WTO), a global non-profit body, along with RB as Swachh Bharat partner and LIXIL as the main summit organizer hosted the World Toilet Summit in Mumbai, India. In its 18 years’ legacy of continuously working towards reducing the gap between the government, corporate organizations, and civil society, the World Toilet Summit, this year has come to India for the third time, with the theme ‘Can the world be ODF by 2030.
With the success of government led Swachh Bharat Mission, India serves as a learning ground for the international WaSH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) community and has hosted the World Toilet Summit twice previously – in 2007 and 2015. This year, supported by Government of Maharashtra, the summit was inaugurated by Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
In his inaugural address, Shri Fadnavis said, ”It gives me immense pleasure to share that now Maharashtra has become 100% open defecation free (ODF), 55% of which has been covered since 2014.
After becoming ODF, we have given plans of sustainability to every Village Panchayat, encouraging them by presenting awards every year, even kids engaged themselves in awareness drive. We also did a lot of work on clean water & all this lead to creation of jobs, economic development. Now, rural area is witnessing major transformation with this and many other initiatives.” “I am happy to see the efforts by World Toilet Organization and their partners in taking necessary steps to achieve ODF status. I am sure with the given pace; we will make ODF India by 2019, as planned by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.” He added.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that about 2.3 billion people in the world do not have access to clean, safe and reliable toilets. This number is 732 million in India. They defecate in open, which often leads to exposure of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, intestinal worms etc. In addition, inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280, 000 deaths worldwide, annually. Open defecation also leads to rapes, humiliation and school drop-outs, especially for females. Keeping this in mind, the Summit provided sustainable solutions, in terms of comprehensive behavioural change strategy that focuses on changing the mindset of people and eradicating the current open-defecation habit.
RB, under its flagship initiative ‘Dettol Harpic Banega Swachh India’ has been supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission and strives to make a contribution in making India open defecation free by 2nd October 2018. RB in association with the World Toilet Organization and Jagran Pehel, has laid the foundation of India’s first World Toilet College for sanitation workers in Aurangabad, Maharashtra in August this year.
Through an effective curriculum, the World Toilet College aims to help sanitation workers in their skill development by improving their socio-economic standard and provide them with better employment opportunities. Since its launch, the college has trained ~100 sanitation workers across independent workers and workers employed with the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation provided sustainable employment opportunities to 100% of the candidates.
As part of continued efforts by RB to improve sanitation and hygiene, the company has built 17,000 toilets out of the 25,000 toilets it aims to create through people participation. It also partnered with Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to launch the ‘Toilet Karenge Search, Toilets Rakhenge Swachh’ campaign that focuses on encouraging citizens to use Google Maps to locate public toilets, and share their ratings and reviews after using them.
Commenting on RB’s work for an ODF India, Rob de Groot, President, Hygiene Home, RB, said, “RB has a long-standing collaboration and partnership with the World Toilet Organization with the aim of making the world Open Defecation Free by 2030. Together we have launched the World Toilet College, an institution dedicated to building skills and capabilities, providing dignity to sanitation workers. The World Toilet Summit brings together experts across sanitation and hygiene disciplines to expediate the change needed to help deliver a cleaner world. We hope through this platform; more organisations and individuals join us in making a positive impact.”
Sharing his thoughts at the event, Akshay Kumar, Swachhta Ambassador, Harpic said, “I am pleased to see more and more people joining the movement that our honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, started four years ago. We have seen a major transformation-taking place in India owing to the Swachh Bharat Mission. I am proud to associate with Harpic in spreading the message of sanitation across the country. But we still have a long road ahead of us and I urge everyone to contribute at their individual level to sensitize people about the consequences of open defecation and the importance of clean toilets.”
Some of the prominent speakers like Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Swachh Bharat Mission, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Manisha Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Maharashtra, India, Rob de Groot, President - Hygiene Home, RB, Jin Song Montesano, Chief Public Affairs, LIXIL Group, Jack Sim, Founder WTO were a part of the summit and addressed the key sanitation problems the world has been facing.