An estimated 2.5 billion people do not have access to quality sanitation. Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia, and Eastern Asia are the regions with the lowest coverage of improved sanitation. Sanitation encompasses the facilities, behaviors, and services that prevent diseases caused by contact with human waste whereas hygiene simply refers to behaviors that can improve cleanliness and lead to good health.
What is it?
The support of hygiene heavily correlates to the support of improved sanitation. It is difficult to practice good hygiene, such as washing hands after using the bathroom, when there is no access to a sink or even running water. Our positive impact partner, Who Gives A Crap, supports both hygiene and sanitation by donating a portion of their profits to the construction of toilets for those who do not have access to them. This serves as a double whammy in that the consumers who purchase this company’s toilet paper are able to maintain their personal hygiene while also improving both the sanitation and hygiene of the billions in need. The deal is only sweetened by the fact that Who Gives A Crap offers toilet paper that is made out of alternative ecofriendly materials, such as their 100 percent recycled and 100 percent bamboo toilet paper.
Many a menstruating human knows the importance of maintaining good menstrual hygiene, but it is not available to everyone. In fact, almost one in five girls have reported to have missed school for lack of adequate period products in the United States. Some girls are forced to stay at home from school during their periods which leads them to miss some 10-20 percent of school days, if not drop out of school completely. This issue is only exacerbated in areas of the world that do not have improved sanitation and in individuals who experience homelessness. Dot Cup, another one of our amazing impact partners, offers a sustainable solution to this dilemma with their menstrual cup and complimentary storage pouch. A menstrual cup is essentially a flexible cup that captures fluid for up to 12 hours an acts as a more ecofriendly tampon. The cup can last anywhere between five and ten years when taken care of properly. Before and after Aunt Flow’s visit, simply boil the menstrual cup for a few minutes to sanitize and disinfect. Dot Cup also offers a cup wash solution to make things a bit easier. With every purchase of a menstrual cup, Dot Cup will donate a cup to a woman or girl in need.
Why does it matter?
Proper hygiene and sanitation saves lives. In combination to safe water, sanitation and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9.1 percent of the global disease burden and 6.3 percent of all deaths. 6.3 percent of deaths could be prevented by ensuring everyone has access to a human right. Who Gives A Crap’s donation to the construction of toilets makes it easier for the 2.5 billion people without improved sanitation to be able to use these facilities. In the case of the menstrual cup, more girls and women will be able to attend school. This change has the power to shrink the percentage of girls and women who are illiterate and begin bridge the gender pay gap. Because of it’s reusable nature and long lifespan, the menstrual cup offers a sustainable solution for women and girls who may not have regular or adequate access to period products as long as the cup is properly disinfected.
When companies and consumers support hygiene and sanitation, they are supporting the lives of the oppressed.