“Despite rapid progress, India continues to face significant development challenges,” reads Reckitt’s Social Impact Investment Report 2021. The report highlights the key achievements of the company from the social impact investments made. It states that Reckitt has spent over £103M in the last three years, which is equivalent to 1 per cent of their net profit, on social causes among three focus areas – Clean water, hygiene and sanitation, maternal and child health and sexual rights and equality. For its initiatives in India, the report states,
Rates are too high for child malnutrition and maternal mortality, whilst millions suffer from poor sanitation, and education on sexual rights remain basic. As a rapidly developing country with pressing social challenges, our team in India invests in social impact through a portfolio of impact investments, covering innovative approaches to solving challenges in hygiene, health and nutrition.
Reckitt’s various projects have impacted people across the country with programmes that improve hygiene behaviour, child nutrition, maternal health and sexual education.
Banega Swasth India
Dettol India’s Banega Swasth campaign has been embedding hygiene as a pillar of health in India since 2014. BSI’s Dettol School Hygiene Programme has seen exceptional success, expanding to cover 75 per cent of primary schools in India, reaching 20 million children from the most in need communities, and reducing absenteeism by 39 per cent. The programme provides students with access to hygiene education with interactive communication techniques as well as improved hygiene and handwashing facilities, has seen exceptional success. It expanded to cover 75 per cent of primary schools in India, reaching 20 million children from the most in-need communities, and reducing absenteeism by 39 per cent. Furthermore, as per the report, the project has reduced diarrhoea rates among children by 14.6 per cent.
Dettol School Hygiene Programme
From 2015-2020, the Dettol School Hygiene Programme has reduced diarrhoea by 14.6 per cent, school absenteeism by 39 per cent, and achieved a 57 per cent increase in knowledge of handwashing on important occasions.
To triple impact by 2026, Reckitt’s team aims to reach 840,000 primary schools in India, and an additional 7 million school children through engaging digital channels.
Hygiene Impact Bond
Dettol’s Hygiene Impact Bond has been developed to lower the incidence and severity of diarrhoea in children under 5 years of age. The project helps teach children and new mothers healthy self-care practices via digital, blended and community-based intervention models. Reckitt’s pilot of the model averted over 50,000 diarrhoea cases and over 5000 diarrhoea deaths. In 2021, the investment was scaled and reached 150,000 households across Uttar Pradesh.
The Birds and the Bees
Gathering information on sexual education can be difficult for India’s youth, meaning many are at risk of unplanned pregnancies or diseases. Durex is making sexual education available by partnering with Plan India and the Indian Government.
Reckitt – Durex has used digital and in-person platforms, targeted at adolescents aged 10-19, to improve sexual education for almost 75,000 adolescents in 2021. This includes an e-learning platform, BirdsandBeesBuzz, murals on a sports stadium, and a partnership with India Olympian boxer Lovlina Borgohain.
World Toilet College
Harpic’s World Toilet College (WTC) was created in 2018 to invest in sanitation workers, who are limited in opportunities by their social and economic standing.
The WTC is providing education and training to these workers, and in 2021 2,700 sanitation workers went through the training scheme.
These graduates of the WTC have benefitted from increased dignity and safety, whilst reporting 22% fewer health issues and an average increase in income of 44%.
Reach Each Child
Reach Each Child is a nutrition programme that prioritises adequate nutrition for children within the first 1,000 days of life through locally-led initiatives, with community nutrition workers being key suppliers of information and services.
The programme has reached 72,700 children under five and has provided cash assistance to 161 families to pay for treatment of malnourishment. Reckitt has supported 8,000 pregnant women through multiple interventions and helped 91 per cent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding. There’s been a significant impact on families, and there have been no malnutrition deaths among supported children in the 2 years of the programme.
An independent evaluation found Reach Each Child generated a social return on investment of 1:37. Beyond the programme, there has been increased uptake of services and trust in existing government services, through education and referrals.
Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnerships Reckitt says that the initiatives in India have been ‘truly transformational’.
I am immensely proud of our work in India, which has been truly transformational. With our partners, we are now able to provide 20 million school children with education on hygiene behaviours, 8 thousand mothers with support during the first 1,000 days of their children’s lives, and millions more consumers with access to our products.
Mr Bhatnagar also says that Reckitt’s team is driven to achieve even more in the future.
Despite progress, there is more to do, and we have an ambitious strategy to triple our impact by 2026. Our trailblazing Banega Swasth India programme aims to cover 75 per cent of the aspirational districts in India by 2026, reaching 140 million people and impacting 47 million people. Through our Durex ‘Birds and Bees’ programme, we will improve the sexual health of 14 million adolescents and youth.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.