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Clean the World’s Global Soap & Hygiene Initiative to Expand Programming in 2016

When Clean the World and the Global Soap Project launched in 2009, an average of 9,000 children under the age of 5 died every day from hygiene-related illnesses. Just six years later, the daily average has dropped to around 5,600.

That’s a lot of progress – but our goal remains to drive that number down to zero.

A micro-loan helped Salvacion start a soap business in the Phillippines.

After consolidating the two organizations earlier this year, we emerged as a stronger, unified social enterprise with the capability to save even more lives. The unified organization capitalizes on strengths developed separately by each group over the past six years. Now with all the pieces in place, we are poised to make significantly more impact next year.

In 2016, Clean the World’s Global Soap & Hygiene Initiative will concentrate on developing and implementing programs that make a measurable, sustainable impact on global health. Following is an overview of our strategy to lead the eradication of the leading causes of child morbidity:

Distribution and Hygiene Education

Soap distribution to at-risk people involves a lot more than dropping off a few boxes of product and then moving on to the next community. Our Global Soap & Hygiene Initiative works with leading global health organizations to provide long-term, outcome-based soap access and hygiene education. Those activities happen in conjunction with health and human services targeting vulnerable children and families in low-income households internationally and domestically.

By partnering with global health service groups to identify critical needs, we can deliver soap and hygiene education to the same groups for an extended period. Ongoing access improves health and changes behaviors in measurable and sustainable ways.

Our Soap Distribution and Hygiene Education program collaborates with partners in three specific areas:

Hunger and Nutrition: Food banks, meal service and feeding programs, nutrition education, healthy eating and cooking programs, community gardens and farm-to-table programs

Health and Hygiene: Community-based clinics, maternal and child health services, community well-care programs, health department programs, soap in schools

Family Self-Sufficiency and Financial Stability: Homeless support and emergency assistance programs, foster youth services, senior services, veterans services, parenting support, child care programs, re-entry and workforce programs

Custom Programs

Our NGO partners have a wide-reaching footprint that covers much of the developing world. However, we do encounter communities where there is no NGO presence, or where existing programming is insufficient, not sustainable, or not focused on long-term change.

In these underserved areas, our Global Soap & Hygiene Initiative conducts research to determine the best type of intervention. Our team designs and implements a program that improves health in the short-term and sustains itself long-term. We evaluate the results to make sure the program creates sustainable, positive health improvements by changing recipient hygiene behaviors and instilling lifelong hygiene routines.

The goal is to exit after two years once we see evidence that the program is self-supporting.

Sustainable Soap Supplies

Once people understand the importance of hand washing, the next challenge is often soap access. When supply or cost is a barrier to regular soap purchases, our Global Soap & Hygiene Initiative makes it available through in-country micro-lending and micro-enterprise programs. The programs complement the work of our distribution programs and ensure everyone has ongoing access to soap.

Research indicates that income-generating activities serve as key motivators for sustainable hygiene promotion.

In-country micro-lending and micro-enterprises ensure consistent access to soap while supporting local jobs and economies:

Community Hygiene Micro-Enterprise Project: Providing entrepreneurs with start-up financing and training to become lay health educators. They then teach and promote hygiene and the proper use of soap, and introduce a hygiene-related business opportunity to generate new income sources, serve as hygiene motivators, and reduce barriers to better health.

Soap Maker Micro-Lending Project: Providing micro-financing for individual soap makers to meet an urgent demand in global communities with little or no access to soap. As soap makers repay the loans, the available funds support new soap-making micro-enterprises. Micro-lending is the start of a positive economic cycle in areas of extreme poverty, and these new markets for soap help to prevent disease in communities that need it most.


Our mission to eradicate needless deaths from hygiene-related illness goes beyond soap access and hygiene education. Through the Global Soap & Hygiene Initiative, we educate governments and NGOs around the world to help them understand the importance of long-term WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) programming.

We believe governments should do a better job of investing and addressing these needs. They should advocate for hygiene and hand washing awareness by local governments to ensure they address the most pressing health needs of their citizens.


Sometimes soap access and hygiene education are only part of the equation. That’s why we also work to identify and promote additional hygiene and tools to help maximize the effectiveness and lifesaving potential of hand washing with soap.

For example, some rural communities don’t even have a hand-washing station. The Global Soap & Hygiene Initiative might offer a creative solution such as a “tippy tap.” Or perhaps a soap powder and water mixture is more effective than bar soap.

Through innovation and technology, we identify the best solution for each specific community.

Soap Stockpiles

The final pillar of our strategy is to maintain an inventory of subsidized soap supplies and hygiene kits for emergency bulk distribution to people in crisis. Bulk distribution is coordinated to promote immediate relief along with complementary safe water, sanitation, and related hygiene efforts.

Together, these programs put us closer to reaching our goal of eliminating all hygiene-related deaths worldwide. But we can’t do it alone. Now more than ever, we need the support of our donors and partners to help us make these efforts a success. It’s easy to help us make a difference. A donation of $25 is enough to serve two families living in extreme poverty for an entire year, and a gift of $50 can provide a year’s worth of soap and hygiene education to an entire classroom. Will you help us by making a financial contribution today?

As always, thanks so much for your continued support. Together, we’re reducing waste and saving lives, one bar of soap at a time!

London Heathrow Marriott Hotel First in Europe to Recycle With Clean the World

In the European Union countries, an estimated 2.5 million people are homeless over the course of a year. In 2014, 125 million European citizens (25%) were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. People with inadequate housing often don’t have access to basic hygiene supplies, which puts them at greater risk for illness.

Combine those statistics with a passion for sustainability among European hoteliers, and Europe is the ideal region for Clean the World expansion. We started collecting discarded soap and bottled amenities there in mid-October.

Hygiene items collected in Europe are recycled in Europe and benefit food banks and shelters in Europe. Here is a recent press release from are longtime friends and supporters at Marriott regarding our first European partner hotel:

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Press release: Final Draft 05/11/15


London Heathrow Marriott Hotel has given guests something to get on their soapboxes about with the announcement that it is the first hotel in Europe to recycle discarded soap with Clean the World.

The full service hotel has paired with ‘Clean The World’, a global enterprise that repurposes hygiene supplies left behind by hotel guests, to benefit homeless shelters, senior citizens and struggling families around the world.

Following Global Handwashing Day last month, the announcement of the initiative forms part of the hotel’s dedication to environmental sustainability, having been recognised previously by Greenleaders and Green Tourism for its effort to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Ron Vos, general manager at London Heathrow Marriott Hotel, said: “Hundreds of people fly in and out of Heathrow Airport every day and as a result we see hundreds of leisure and business guests come through our doors.

“If you think about the amount of soap that’s discarded by each of these guests and then consider all the people in the world that may not have the luxury of hygiene products, it seems absurd to let it all go to waste.

“Clean The World does a fantastic job of distributing these and other donated products to impoverished people, preventing millions of hygiene-related deaths each year –  we’re very pleased to be the first hotel to make a contribution to this cause.”

Shawn Seipler, Clean The World’s founder and CEO, said: “Since 2009, Clean The World has distributed more than 1 million hygiene kits in the United States, Canada, and Asia, while diverting 3,600 metric tons of waste from landfills.”

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