Pit latrine toilets at schools

Access To Safe and Hygienic Toilets Is A Right, Not A Privilege

Imagine being a child at school, desperate to use the toilet but too embarrassed to go because there is no door, and your classmates might walk past at just the wrong moment. The floor may be covered in faeces and you’re worried about getting sick because of germs, or even worse, you’re afraid of falling into the pit toilet and drowning. 

This is a harsh reality for children at thousands of South African schools where the only toilets available are dangerous and unhygienic pit latrines. When using these toilets, children are continuously exposed to germs making them ill and causing them to miss valuable school days, not to mention the emotional turmoil that comes with not having the due privacy to conduct your most intimate ablutions. 

Waking up to a safe, functional toilet at home and then being able to continue using one throughout the day at work and school, is an enormous privilege. Yet, it’s something so many of us take for granted. 

“World Toilet Day is an opportunity for us all to put ourselves in the shoes of thousands of South Africa’s learners who have no access to safe and dignified toilets and to acknowledge that having clean, hygienic, flushing toilets is a privilege,” says Mandisa Mbenenge, Unilever PR Brand Specialist of Home Care, “This day it is an opportunity for us as citizens, parents, educators and professionals to find ways to bridge this massive divide by helping make safe sanitation at school a right.”

 “Currently thousands of schools desperately need appropriate sanitation intervention, South Africa must unite to change this,” she continued, “The lack of appropriate sanitation facilities and hygiene education is a leading cause of infection keeping many children from attending and participating in school. Children miss classes waiting for toilets or leave school to find an alternative place to relieve themselves. Many girls stay home during their menstrual cycles, and the lack of proper sanitation is a breeding ground for many illnesses.”

Implementing basic toilet hygiene habits is also key to making sure that we protect ourselves from  germs and viruses when using the toilet. This is relevant to everyone as  the threat of a second wave of COVID-19 infections looms over South Africa, improving hygiene consciousness is more important than ever!

You can protect yourself and your family from germs, viruses and illnesses in the bathroom by adopting some of these toilet cleaning tips from Domestos: 

To start mix water and 30ml of bleach in a bucket

  1. Use a cloth and the cleaning mixture to wipe down and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, taps, sinks and toilet flushing handles
  2. Check that your toilet bowl and seat is not broken and has no cracks where germs can breed
  3. Wipe toilet surfaces with a different sponge or cloth from the one you use for the other surfaces
  4. Pour toilet cleaner into the toilet and around the rim and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes before scrubbing with the toilet brush and then flushing
  5. Soak your mop for at least 2 minutes in the cleaning mixture before you mop the floors
  6. Use a handheld brush and your cleaning mixture to scrub bathroom tiles around the toilet
  7. Clean and rinse toilet brushes, mops, sponges, and cloths thoroughly 
  8. Check that you always have soap and toiletries available 
  9. It’s recommended to clean the bathroom and toilet daily to maintain optimal hygiene

In response to the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) Initiative, launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018, Domestos has been working to bring together partners from corporates, NGOs, government, and consumers to systematically eradicate pit latrines at schools.

Last year, Domestos thanks to the support of South African shoppers, Domestos was able to raise R500 000 through sales in a single day on World Toilet Day, which contributed to replacing pit toilets  in several schools. This year Domestos is once again asking South African to help us by buying any Domestos bleach bottle between 19 November – 19 December, when R1 from every bottle sold will go towards safe sanitation in schools.

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About Domestos

  • Domestos is Unilever’s leading toilet hygiene brand and has been committed to helping protect families from germs for more than 80 years. 
  • Domestos’ commitment to delivering more social value is just one action Unilever is taking to meet its goal of helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, and in turn, create a sustainable future.

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About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home, Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. It has 169,000 employees and generated sales of €53.3 billion in 2015. Over half (58%) of the company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Persil, Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben & Jerry’s, Marmite, Magnum and Lynx.

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One comment

  1. Truly a harsh reality

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