Hygiene Plus in India – Thanks to Viega
Viega is the first company from the sanitary industry to support ‘Team Swachh Bharat’. The campaign, launched by the non-profit organisations UNICEF and WASH United, is supporting the Indian government’s ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ (SBM). The aim of the SBM is to achieve sustainable improvements in hygienic conditions throughout the country.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’, a country-wide campaign for a clean India in August 2014. The campaign’s ambitious goal is to provide every inhabitant with access to a toilet – which should then also be used – by the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth on 2 October 2019. At present, over 560 million Indians, i.e. nearly half the population, has no such access. But even in houses where there is a toilet, the facility is quite often not used, because especially in rural areas many people are simply used to answering the call of nature in, well, nature. That has serious consequences: Bacteria and viruses infiltrate food and drinking water. This leads to severe cases of diarrhoea, costing the lives of hundreds of Indians every day – including 400 toddlers alone.
‘Team Swachh Bharat’ has set itself the task of mobilising the whole of India to tackle the issues of hygiene and sanitary conditions. This includes especially the use of toilets, keeping them clean and washing hands regularly with soap. With the support of Viega, it will be possible to provide so-called ‘Team Swachh Action Kits’ – hygiene ‘toolboxes’ for learning by playing – to 3,500 schools. This will enable around 700,000 children to learn the basics of hygiene while playing. “We are sure that the ‘Team Swachh Bharat’ schools programme will bring positive change to the lives of many Indian children, and with our support sustainably improve the standards of hygiene in the country,” says Anna Viegener, member of the Management Board and initiator of the project at Viega.
Thorsten Kiefer is very pleased that a global player of the sanitary industry such as Viega has taken an interest in the campaign. The founder and CEO of WASH United acknowledges this outstanding commitment: “A company that is investing in the construction of production facilities for sanitation products in India and simultaneously doing something to improve the living conditions of the people there – that’s a perfect combination.” WASH United has been campaigning for better standards of hygiene in India since as early as 2012. The ‘Team Swachh Bharat’ campaign was launched in March 2016. Since September, Viega’s ‘Team Swachh Bharat Action Kits’ help schoolchildren learn the rules of hygiene while playing.