World Toilet Summit 2015 concludes among NGOs and ministers

Business Events | January 23, 2015 | News

World Toilet Summit 2015 World Toilet Organization Showcraft Foundation

The 14th edition of the World Toilet Summit over the past two days could prove to be a game changer in the government's quest for making the country clean and hygienic. It took place on Jan. 20-21 at Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi and witnessed commitments from both, corporates and government. Organized by World Toilet Organization, Showcraft Productions was brought on board as strategic partner.

The participants at the summit included ministers, government officials, NGOs, religious leaders and corporate. Participating NGOs included World Bank, USAID, World Toilet Organization, BRAC, CLTS, Water.org, WaterAid, Aqua for All, Sulabh International, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WASTE, and FINISH Society among others. Representatives from the private sector included Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Kimberly-Clark Corporation and American Standard Brands.

A glimpse of the outcomes of the summit came from an announcement made by Devendra Chaudhary, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power while addressing the summit on the concluding day, when he announced that the Ministry of Power will construct around 1 lakh toilets in close to 60,000 government schools spread across the country. With numerous sessions being held on sanitation, Chaudhary spoke at the inaugural session of the day titled ‘Swachh Bharat and Swachh Vidyalya'. Senior BJP leader and renowned economist Subramaniam Swamy, one of the panellists on the session, called upon the private sector to make a collective effort towards a cultural shift in partnership with government.

Commenting on the outcomes of summit, Jack Sim, Founder, World Toilet Organisation said: “We have come together in the mood of collaboration at a historic moment, to support Prime Minister Modi’s vision to end the sanitation crisis in India, and had phenomenal commitments from religious leaders from many faiths, government ministers, non-profits, and the private sector. I want everyone to have a vision of an India where people want to use the toilet - a vision of clean, beautiful, safe and enjoyable toilets for all. Through collaboration and effective coordination, this vision can become a reality.”

Adding further, Lalitt Gattani, Chief Creative Officer, Showcraft Productions said: “I am very thankful to various departments of the Government of India for extending their support and participating in full force in this summit. I am personally very thankful to our religious leaders for showing the way and demonstrating the true secular fabric of our society, and this will surely start a new beginning in building a Swachh Bharat, a thought initiated by PM Modi which is all set to become a reality."

One of the key features of the two-day summit was the number of commitments made by NGOs, corporates and even the religious leaders. Dewan Saheb announced donating his personal land adjacent to the Dargah for building a toilet block, while HH Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj committed the entire expense for building the same.

Among the corporate commitments, Reckitt Benckiser committed to contribute 10 million pounds until 2019 to work in six key states, driving behavioural change and habits through a prevent/promote/treat initiative with a focus on eradicating diarrhoea. Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Thompson Social, JWT have committed to working with World Toilet Organization on a behaviour change and public awareness campaign to address open defecation in India. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. committed to help 25 million people gain access to a toilet by 2020. Similarly through its Flush for Good campaign, American Standard has committed to providing improved sanitation to 20 million people by the year 2020. Several other commitments were also made by various corporates.

Commenting on the commitment, Priya Nair, Executive Director - Home Care, Hindustan Unilever said: “At HUL, we believe that universal access to WASH is fundamental to eradicating poverty and enabling inclusive, sustainable economic development. We are proud to have supported the World Toilet Summit which was a great opportunity to bring together government, civil society and the private sector to discuss challenges around sanitation and WASH, and plan how we can all progress Prime Minister Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.”

The 14th edition of the two-day summit was organized by World Toilet Organization with Showcraft as the strategic partner.

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