Domestos takes a stand against poor sanitation in South Africa

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Johannesburg, 6 November 2015

It’s difficult to imagine what life would be like without a clean and safe toilet available when you need it. However this is the unfortunate reality for 1 in 3 people globally. World Toilet Day, celebrated annually on the 19th of November, has been a UN recognised day since 2013. The day was set up to raise awareness of the sanitation crisis, putting the spotlight on the health, emotional and psychological consequences endured by those living without access to a safe, clean toilet.

Domestos has been the main sponsor of The World Toilet Day since its inauguration 14 years ago. In terms of drawing attention to the sanitation crisis and doing our part in an effort to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, 2015 was an especially important year for Domestos. In September last year, world leaders signed the Global Goals - a roadmap for global development until 2030 - at the United Nations General Assembly. Sanitation is a vital part of these goals - Goal 6: By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.1 This is an ambitious target; and we all have a role to play to ensure that nobody is left behind.

“A day dedicated to toilets may seem a little meaningless at first glance, but it is the cold piece of porcelain in a closed room at arm’s length in our home that we take for granted could change a child’s life. It is often easy to forget that this piece of innovation can improve everyone’s quality of life.” said Cynthia Luthuli, Brand Manager at Unilever South Africa.

Of over 24 000 schools in the country, only 8 000 of them have flushing toilets, with some schools comprising of over 1 000 children and no working toilets at all – leaving learners exposed to a number of diseases.

Domestos is uniquely placed to play an active role in addressing the sanitation crisis. In 2014, we committed to helping 25 million people (globally) gain improved access to a toilet by 2020. This is part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan goal of helping 1 billion people improve their health and well-being.


“It is a privilege not taken for granted by women who are faced with a choice of defecating in public with a risk of being raped or assaulted while walking to the nearest public toilet. Nor is it taken for granted by those who are subjected to cholera, diarrhoea and other health issues caused due to the lack of proper sanitation.” Cynthia added.

We’re making progress in terms of this goal through programmes run with our partners, such as UNICEF, and through advocacy campaigns around events like World Toilet Day. To date Domestos has helped 25 schools with new toilets and has aided over 26 000 learners. This year, Domestos launched a Hygiene Awareness programme in primary schools across the country, namely the ‘Germ Buster Club’. The program aims to get learners to become brand ambassadors to their parents and spread the awareness of the importance of keeping toilets clean and hygienic at all times in an effort to ensure reliable germ protection. In one year, this program has reached over 113 000 learners in over 150 schools.

In 2015, Domestos’ WTD campaign focused on the impact of inadequate sanitation on children’s attendance at school: each year, 443 million sick days are taken by children in the developing world, all due to unsanitary toilet conditions. That's the same as every child in South Africa missing school for 2 months. By putting the spotlight on this issue we hope to catalyse action, help everyone play their part in putting an end to this inequality, and draw attention to how improving sanitation will accelerate progress in achieving the Global Goals.

To this end, to gain public participation, Domestos encouraged all citizens to donate their pee for a set period of time. That’s right, we asked people to donate their pee to help us raise awareness of the poor state of sanitation in South Africa. A mobile toilet and glass tank was placed on Maverick Corner at the Maboneng Precinct, from Saturday, 14 November 2015 until Tuesday, 17 November 2015 between 09h00 – 15h00.

For more information about Domestos, the 'Donate Your Pee' Campaign, and about what we are doing to raise awareness regarding poor sanitation, visit: