UNICEF and Unilever partner for health

UNICEF and Unilever partner for health MIET AFRICA was privileged to attend the formal launch of UNICEF and Unilever Domestos’s Partnership for Health initiative, held in in Durban on 5 August. The initiative supports national efforts for the improved health and wellbeing of children in South African schools.

The partnership aims to change behaviours related to hygiene and sanitation by promoting good hygiene practices, raising awareness of sanitation challenges and strengthening the capacity of schools and education professionals to address sanitation issues.

Both UNICEF and Unilever stressed the importance of public-private partnerships in creating the transformational change necessary to combat issues such as the sanitation crisis by leveraging partnering organizations’ core competencies.

“Public-private partnerships are crucial to advancing the agenda for children. Only a focused, collective effort will ensure that even more children and young people in South Africa benefit from improvements in sanitation access and services,” said Mr Herve Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF representative to South Africa.

Unilever SA’s Mr Justin Apsey further discussed the importance of good sanitation in creating an enabling environment to facilitate access, retention and achievement: “A lack of health and hygiene awareness coupled with inadequate sanitation facilities and infrastructure impact negatively on the health of the community and ultimately the environment. Healthy sanitation at schools is often overshadowed by other issues, but proper toilet facilities play a very big role in making sure children are in class each and every day.”

Issues related to sanitation are addressed through the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning (CSTL) programme. Adopted by the Education Ministers of all SADC Member States in 2008, CSTL is a comprehensive, coordinated, multisectoral response to addressing barriers to learning and development related to health and poverty.
MIET AFRICA welcomes the partnership between UNICEF and Unilever, which further improves coordination and integration of critical services to ensure that all children and youth, especially girls, are able to realize their right to education.

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