Tag Archives: Millennium Development Goal

Handwashing With Soap Can Help Us Achieve the Millennium Development Goals

Handwashing With Soap Can Help Us Achieve the Millennium Development Goals by Myriam Sidibe, Global Social Mission Director, Unilever-Lifebuoy | Source: Huffington Post blog, July 6, 2013

Being able to live a clean, active and healthy life should be a basic human right. Yet, this is not a privilege that everyone has — a point underscored by two high level reports last week.

Myriam Sidibe is Lifebuoy’s Global Social Mission Director.

Myriam Sidibe is Lifebuoy’s Global Social Mission Director.

UNICEF’s latest report reminds us that pneumonia and diarrhoea are the biggest killers of children globally, causing the deaths of approximately two million children under the age of five, every year. Meanwhile the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that despite significant progress, the world is unlikely to meet the fourth Millennium Development Goal — to reduce child mortality by two-thirds from 1990 levels.

Both reports come at a critical point in time: the world has less than three years to scale-up efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. At Unilever we want to scale-up our own efforts on this front.

UNICEF’s report points to areas where business can help achieve the fourth Millennium Development Goal. Not only can diarrhoea and pneumonia be prevented through basic best practices, including frequent handwashing with soap at key occasions, but also more awareness raising campaigns could reduce deaths caused by pneumonia by 30 percent and diarrhoea by 60 percent — potentially saving more than two million children by 2015. This would be a significant progress in the aim to achieve the fourth Millennium Development Goal and reduce infant mortality.

Although we’re seeing a steady increase in awareness raising campaigns that demonstrate the link between health and good hygiene — from the WHO’s Clean Care is Safe Care programme through to the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap — more needs to be done to ensure that governments prioritise hygiene education programmes.

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New Sanitation Figures Compete with Official UN Statistics: 6 in 10 Lack Proper Facilities

New Sanitation Figures Compete with Official UN Statistics: 6 in 10 Lack Proper Facilities | Source: by Brett Walton, Circle of Blue, Feb 26, 2013

Official United Nations figures claim that 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. But new research from the University of North Carolina puts the total at more than 4.1 billion people.

As world leaders and grassroots groups discuss how to reduce poverty and improve lives, debates over precise definitions and accurate measurements are taking on a new urgency. The agenda-setting Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015, but already new definitions for water, sanitation, and hygiene — called WASH by insiders — seek to influence the post-MDG global development agenda.

The open sewer of Vasant Kunj B5 (left) — one of Delhi’s hundreds of slum villages, this one home to 5,000 people — is a trench dug out of the dirt that runs between lean-to homes made from old grain bags and a few bricks. Nearby, the 10,000 residents of Dwarka Sector 16 (right) worked with a local NGO to line their open sewer with concrete.

The open sewer of Vasant Kunj B5 (left) — one of Delhi’s hundreds of slum villages, this one home to 5,000 people — is a trench dug out of the dirt that runs between lean-to homes made from old grain bags and a few bricks. Nearby, the 10,000 residents of Dwarka Sector 16 (right) worked with a local NGO to line their open sewer with concrete.

Last month, the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, challenged official statistics from the United Nations on the number of people without proper toilet facilities: UNC put the figure at 4.1 billion people, compared with 2.5 billion claimed by the United Nations. Both figures assessed conditions in 2010.

The discrepancy between the two sets of sanitation figures comes from different accounting methods. The United Nations measures hardware — the toilet, in this case — and how well it protects the user from immediate contact with the waste. The UNC researchers, on the other hand, approached the question from a public health angle: they also considered hardware, but in a broader sense, by asking whether or not the sewage is treated.

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Guy Hutton – What costs the world $260 billion each year?

What costs the world $260 billion each year? Guy Hutton | Source: World Bank Water Blog, Feb 11, 2013 |

More people today have access to a cell phone than to a clean toilet. At the current rate of progress the world will miss the global sanitation target for 2015 by over half a billion people. And while the drinking water global target was met last year, nearly a billion people still lack access to an improved drinking water source. Most of these statistics are well known by water and sanitation experts, and the wider development community. Perhaps, less known is the economic cost of the water and sanitation crisis. world-we-want-logo

Poor sanitation and water supply result in economic losses estimated at US$260 billion annually in developing countries, or 1.5% of their GDP. The benefits from meeting the water supply and sanitation (WSS) MDG targets combined equal over US$60 billion annually and combined WSS interventions have a US$4.3 return for every dollar invested.

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Act Now! Let’s get handwashing and WASH into the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals plan

From Katie Carroll of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing

Many of you are aware that the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will be ending in 2015. Over the past two years, the United Nations and its partners have started a process to develop a post-2015 development plan. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) encourages you to take a few simple steps in January and February to advocate for handwashing and hygiene, along with broader WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) goals to be included in this post-2015 plan.

What You Can Do Today


The UN has set up a process called The World We Want ( to allow people all over the world to contribute their input into the post-2015 development plan. The consultative process includes the creation of a High Level Panel, over 50 national and thematic consultations, community-based discussions and a Global Online Conversation, all of which will contribute to a vision for The World We Want beyond 2015. The UN has organized the online consultations into 11 thematic areas:

  • Inequalities
  • Governance
  • Health
  • Education
  • Growth and Employment
  • Conflict and Fragility
  • Food Security and Nutrition, Energy
  • Water – http://www.worldwewant2015.org/water
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Population Dynamics

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A Challenge Paper on Water and Sanitation

A Challenge Paper on Water and Sanitation – 2012

by Frank Rijsberman and Alix Zwane and released by the Copenhagen Consensus Center.

The world has met the Millennium Development Goal on the provision of clean drinking water five years early, but is set to miss its goal on basic sanitation by almost 1 billion people. An astonishing one-third of the world population, 2.5 billion people, lack access to basic sanitation and over one billion people defecate out in the open. 

Inadequate sanitation caused a cholera outbreak in Haiti in late 2010 that has now made half a million people sick and cost some 7000 lives; smaller cholera outbreaks are still commonplace during the rainy season in Bangladesh or the low-lying parts of many Africa cities. Diarrheal diseases are still a leading cause of death for children under five, second only to respiratory infections. The World Bank concludes that the economic impact of poor sanitation can be as high as 7% of GDP for some Asian countries and on the order of 1-2% of GDP for African countries.

Copenhagen Consensus 2012 asked Frank Rijsberman and Alix Peterson Zwane from the Gates Foundation to establish the best ways to reduce the size of this challenge.

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WASHwatch: helping to hold governments to account

WASHwatch: helping to hold governments to account on their commitments to the fundamental foundations of health.

WASHwatch—an online platform for monitoring government policy commitments and budgets for water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) was launched by WaterAid yesterday at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Why?  Because in 2011, 2.6 billion people world-wide STILL do not have access to sanitation; 884 million people have no safe drinking water source; and shockingly, the resulting diarrhoeal diseases kill 4,000 children every day.

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Zambia: A plastic bag for a toilet

LUSAKA, 11 August 2011 (IRIN) – Charity Muyumbana, 45, has spent her entire adult life contending with recurrent flooding, poor drainage, and a lack of toilets in Kanyama, the sprawling Lusaka township where she lives.

“Most of the people use plastic bags to relieve themselves during the night. They find it more convenient because some toilets are up to 200m away from the house,” she told IRIN.

Photo: Charles Mafa/IRIN

The situation in Kanyama represents a countrywide problem. According to a 2008 study by local NGO the Water and Sanitation Forum, only 58 percent of Zambians have access to adequate sanitation and 13 percent lack any kind of toilet.

While the government has improved water and sanitation in urban areas, this is not the case in unplanned, high density peri-urban settlements like Kanyama where residents complain that lack of space and poor soil make it difficult to construct latrines, and a haphazard road network has contributed to a serious drainage problem.

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Africa could turn a corner in the sanitation crisis

Africa could finally be turning a corner in the sanitation crisis say civil society groups ANEW and FAN, WaterAid, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the End Water Poverty Campaign who attended the recently held AfricaSan3 conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

In the opinion of the groups, the high level of participation and engagement shown by African Governments offers cause for optimism (the conference attracted unprecedented levels of participation by delegations from 42 African countries).

The comments were made at the end of the conference which was designed to “put Africa back on track to meet the sanitation MDG”.

The delegations included ministers of water, health, environment and education as well as civil society leaders who also played a big part and pledged to work closely with AMCOW (African Ministers Council) to track progress, identify challenges and seek joint solutions.

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Rwanda: Nation Targets 100 Percent Sanitation Coverage By 2012

Apr 20, 2011 – The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Marie Claire Mukasine, yesterday announced that there would be 100 percent sanitation coverage by 2012, and stressed on accelerating strategies to achieve this target.

She made the remarks while addressing a preparatory meeting of the forthcoming third African Sanitation and Hygiene conference (AfricaSan 3), slated for July in Kigali.

Mukasine added that the overall objective is to get Africa on track to meet the sanitation Millenium Development Goal; the focus has to be on building and sustaining momentum through improved action plans and renewed commitments.

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Ignored: Biggest Child Killer – The world is neglecting sanitation

Ten years on: hope stuck in the mire – Damning new report marks signing of UN Millennium Declaration

An installation of 167 spades, symbolising the number of children who die from diarrhoea in the developing world every hour, was erected for WaterAid’s Dig Toilets Not Graves campaign in London’s Trafalgar Square. Marking ten years to the day since the UN Millennium Declaration was adopted (8 September 2000), the international charity demonstrated how these deaths can be easily prevented through access to safe sanitation such as simple pit toilets. Every day some 4000 children die from diseases caused by poor sanitation and dirty water. Credit: David Parry/PA Wire/WaterAid

International development organisation WaterAid today launched a damning new report to mark the ten year anniversary of the signing of the UN Millennium Declaration.

According to WaterAid, governments that signed the declaration are now presiding over populations where billions are living and dying in their own faeces for want of somewhere clean and safe to go to the toilet.

The report – Ignored: the biggest child killer – The world is neglecting sanitation (pdf, 1.4MB) – comes just two weeks before world leaders will meet again at the UN to review the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were set out in 2000 to halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty. At current rates of progress, the 2015 target to halve the proportion of people living without sanitation will not be met globally until 2049; in Sub-Saharan Africa not until the 23rd century, some 200 years late.

“The hope embodied in the declaration of 2000 is mired in excrement,” said WaterAid Policy and Campaigns Director Margaret Batty. “The ongoing neglect of the sanitation MDG target represents a damning failure by governments and the aid community to promote an integrated approach to international development.”

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