Personal care giant Unilever and Unicef have formed a partnership in a bid to improve access to safe drinking water in countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
The scheme will focus primarily on Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire and will include financial investment as well as strategic engagement with government and civil society.
Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, says, “The business case for greater investment in safe drinking water is clear. Just looking at the impact of safe water and positive hygiene practices on child health and nutrition, it’s easy to see how this is an investment that can hugely improve and save the lives of children – and there is no greater return on investment than that.”
The partnership aims to promote sustainable management of safe water by innovative and school-based programmes. It will also focus on increasing awareness of hygiene and handwashing practices.
Bruno Witvoet, President Unilever Africa, said, “At Unilever we want our brands to make a difference to the lives of the people of Africa, but the scale of challenges such as providing safe water go far beyond what any organisation, public or private can do alone. This partnership will draw on the joint expertise, resources and networks of both UNICEF and Unilever, to magnify our efforts so we improve the quality of life for ordinary people and help Africa meet the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Unilever and Unicef have joined forces to try and combat dire situations for those with unsafe drinking water. Indeed, in Kenya one-in-three people don’t have access to safe drinking water and aroiund 150,000 school children a year die as a result of diarrhoea.