CHENNAI: Harpic under its flagship initiative ‘Mission Swachhta aur Paani’ started the week with an 8-hour long telethon on World Toilet Day showcasing its commitment towards safer toilets for all and the need for a behavioural shift towards clean and hygienic toilets. After three successful years of Harpic’s biggest long-term campaign, the initiative is pivoting towards a resurgence in the sector of health, hygiene, and sanitation by making the cause bigger and more inclusive with Harpic Mission Swacchta aur Paani – ‘Milkar Le Ye Zimmedari’.
‘Mission Swachhta aur Paani’, a Sanitation for All campaign is a movement that upholds the cause of inclusive sanitation where everyone has access to clean toilets. It advocates equality for all genders, abilities, castes and classes and strongly believes that clean toilets are a shared responsibility. This is a pledge to keep India Samagra Swachh, to protect communities from diseases, fight for sustainable sanitation and access to safe toilets. The campaign also declared a call to citizens from across the country to share their thoughts on what could be a 5-point behavioral change mandate for the nation.
Ravi Bhatnagar, Director – External Affairs and Partnerships, Reckitt – South Asia said, “Since its inception, Harpic and News18’s Mission Swachhta aur Paani has been working on inclusive sanitation in India, and the importance of water for hygiene and sanitation. We get a lot of strength from our partners across to bring about a change on-ground. Through our various interventions, we aim to reach over 20 million Indians with information and tools that can help drive behaviour change and generate awareness on the importance of proper sanitation in one’s overall health for a healthier India. We’re sure that in times to come, behaviour is going to change, in the most difficult terrains also. Through this initiative, today we are taking forward the main theme of World Toilet Day 2022, that is, making the invisible, visible.”
Campaign Ambassador Akshay Kumar presented to Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat a “five-point mandate” to drive the flagship initiative aimed at behavioural change in India for better sanitation. These include: Access to clean toilets; safe and clean toilets as collective responsibility; dignity and respect for everyone in sanitation facilities; recognizing sanitation as new health; leaving no one behind.
Akshay also highlighted role of children in this Mission. “Toilet etiquette classes should be mandatory in schools across the nation. Students should learn about topics like sanitation, hygiene and water conversation,” Akshay Kumar added.
The World Toilet Day special telethon witnessed participation from prominent public figures including spiritual leaders Sadhguru and Swami Chidanand Saraswati; actors Parineeti Chopra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Riteish Deshmukh and Sulabh International Founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak. The conversations were stirred towards promoting sanitation and clean water for all, including clean toilets which are accessible to everyone, gender inclusivity and how the toilet does not discriminate between genders.
Saurabh Jain, Regional Marketing Director, South Asia – Hygiene, Reckitt, commented, “As a global leader in the toilet care category, Harpic reaches over 100mn households across India. Being a part of important global conversations on sanitation and driving impact on-ground is not an obligation, rather a privilege for us. We believe there is a need for everyone to do their bit in maintaining clean and hygienic toilets. Harpic is consistently working towards providing access to safe toilets by making quality hygiene and wellness products accessible to everyone. Driving sustained behaviour change is imperative to drive impact and thus, with Harpic News18 Mission Swachhta aur Paani our efforts and interventions are aligned with the philosophy of leaving no one behind. We hope to continue creating a difference at grass root levels with each passing year and also urge citizens to understand their individual responsibility and join us in this mission to create a healthier nation – Milkar Lein Ye Zimmedari.”
Answering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call for water conservation, Harpic Mission Paani was launched nationally in August 2019 with a commitment to generate collective consciousness, action, and behaviour change for protecting and conserving water resources. Since then, Mission Paani has enabled communication on habitual changes not just around water conservation but also sanitation and hygiene which are an integral part of the campaign. Harpic Mission Swacchta aur Paani also announced its partnership with Sesame Workshop India as part of the campaign which will focus on educating children about the importance of sanitation and hygiene, promote them to practice it as well as spread the word to everyone else around them.
With water being at the epicenter of sanitation and maintaining toilet hygiene, it is imperative to bring about a change in societal behaviour to build a healthy nation. Harpic rejuvenates the cause by consistently working to improve water and hygiene facilities throughout India with specialised programs that address the issue with Mission Swachhta aur Paani.