Importance of sanitation in the world that is struggling to break the rapid spread of COVID-19, cannot be stressed enough. Sanitary and hygiene practices directly affect the health of individuals. This makes it crucial for India – home to a population of over 1.3 billion people, with the not-overly impressive healthcare system. For India, sanitation is not just about social development but also economic development.
Importance of sanitation in India has been propagated since centuries. Right from the religious customs of maintaining cleanliness, leaving outdoor shoes outside the house, washing hands, feet and face before sitting for prayers are all part of the culture that promotes sanitation. Sanitation was also preached extensively by Mahatma Gandhi – the father of our nation. Despite this, the sanitation scenario in the country has not been great.
Poor sanitation in the country is often a result of the unavailability of resources and lack of awareness among the people. To change this, the government of India, under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi, launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ in 2014, with Gandhiji as its brand ambassador. The government also encouraged the corporates of the country to participate in sanitary development of the nation. Responding to this, India Inc. has launched various initiatives and programs under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects to promote and enable sanitary practices across the country. Let us look at top CSR projects in Sanitation in India.
1. SATO Tap by LIXIL
According to UNICEF, 40% of the world’s population still do not have access to basic hand-washing facilities at home. SATO, LIXIL Group Corporation’s social business that aims to solve water, sanitation, and hygiene problems by providing affordable and easy-to-install sanitation systems to local communities around the world, introduced a hand-washing solution called the ‘SATO Tap’.
For its execution, LIXIL has committed USD 1 million in line with its promise to support the commitments of development partners and others, which could impact 5 million people with improved handwashing. This resonates with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (‘Self-reliant India’).
In addition to providing an affordable hand-washing facility to disadvantaged households through the SATO Tap, LIXIL has partnered with UNICEF which will also expand activities in hand-washing and sanitation in response to COVID-19. These activities range from a collection of commercial and behavioural insights to strengthen behaviour change, joint advocacy to promote hygiene programming and maximizing existing public and private sector networks and supply chains to expand access to hand-washing.
The first SATO Taps will be manufactured in India and will be made available for partners in September 2020, with the ramp-up of production and retail availability through early 2021. LIXIL is also working to establish other licensing partners to expand to other markets globally.
2. PwC India Foundation’s Safe Sanitation Infrastructure
PwC India Foundation (PwCIF), in collaboration with NGO Reaching Hand, handed over gender-segregated toilets and handwash units to schools in Bengaluru helping students continue their schooling with dignity and confidence. The project was initiated with the intent to reduce dropouts of girl students in schools due to lack of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) and menstrual health accessibility. As part of the intervention, PwC India Foundation also conducted WaSH related trainings for the teachers and distributed sanitation kits to the children.
Post the handover of the toilet units, a student WaSH committee and Child Parliament in each school will be empowered to maintain the hygiene and sustenance of the toilets while teachers from the schools will be trained on the management of the facilities. The Foundation will also enable sessions on Menstrual Health Management and Behaviour Change Communication for the students to increase WaSH awareness levels in the school.
3. HUL WASH Initiative
1.3 million children under the age of five die in India due to diarrhoeal and other respiratory diseases. One of the most cost-effective solutions to fight against these diseases is hand washing which improves health and hygiene as well as reduces infant mortality. Lifebuoy – One of HULs biggest brands has taken a lead since 2010 and has reached out to over 72 million people in India through their CSR outreach initiatives. In 2019, this campaign impacted 1.6 million people through their on-ground handwashing behaviour change CSR programmes.
The Lifebuoy ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ on-ground handwashing behaviour change programme was started in 2013 in Thesgora, a village in Madhya Pradesh that has one of the highest rates of childhood diarrhoea in India. This revolutionary initiative by HUL helped reduce the incidence of diarrhoea from 36% to 5%, and 26% more children were washing their hands before meals.
Lifebuoy has partnered with GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative), Project Hope, Power of Nutrition and Bharat Scouts & Guides for making handwashing a regular habit among Indians.
‘Safal Shuruaat’, an innovative collaboration between Gavi and Lifebuoy was launched in 2017 to protect children under five from premature deaths in 14 districts of the state of Uttar Pradesh. This program uses short-films which are shown door-to-door in rural areas to increase awareness about WASH. This HUL CSR initiative has reached 1.5 million people till date and plans to reach 2.5 million people by the end of 2020.
4. Handwash App for Galaxy Watch
A team of designers and developers from Samsung Research Institute-Bangalore (SRI-B) has developed a unique ‘hand wash app for Galaxy Watch that prompts users to clean their hands, a key preventive measure in the fight against COVID-19.
The UX and wearable team worked round-the-clock over the last two weeks to come up with a solution that helps you keep healthy and safe.
The app on Galaxy Watch helps users maintain hand hygiene by periodically reminding them about it and ensuring each wash is thorough for the duration of 20 seconds, in line with the WHO-recommended best hygiene practices.
The app comes with preset reminders which users can customize further based on their needs and schedule. Each time the user initiates the wash sequence, the ‘hand wash’ app tracks the time and provides users with haptic feedback after 25 seconds of a wash cycle.
Five seconds are for turning on the tap and applying soap, while 20 seconds are for actual hand wash. The app also notifies users if they miss any of scheduled washes. Galaxy Watch users can download the ‘Hand Wash’ app from the Galaxy Store.
RI-B is the largest R&D centre outside of South Korea and a key innovation hub in the Samsung group. The specific purpose of SRI-B is to create USPs for global flagship devices by developing significant advancements in Modem, Multimedia, AI, Internet of Things, and to make for India by catering to the specific needs of Indian consumers.