As a global social enterprise, Clean the World is committed to being a leader in both environmental sustainability as well as global health. This means being actively involved in global multilateral and multi-stakeholder groups and discussions to help maximize our impact – including global commitments like the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The SDGs are a slate of 17 global objectives announced by the United Nations in 2015 designed to improve the state of the world through collaborations among countries and organizations (see http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/). At Clean the World Foundation, we’re taking an active role in working towards achieving these commitments. In particular, our work around the world addresses eight specific goals:
Goal 1: No Poverty
Chronic health issues, particularly illnesses linked to water, sanitation, and hygiene, disproportionately affect the 20% of the world’s population living in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 US dollars per day). Fortunately, handwashing with soap is one of the most effective ways to improve health for adults and children alike. Clean the World Foundation is addressing this goal by operating ongoing handwashing behavior change programs designed to improve health sustainably and long-term. When people are healthier, they are able to work more regularly and increase their economic participation, improving incomes and decreasing poverty over time.
Goal 3: Good Health & Well Being
Poor maternal health and high rates of childhood morbidity continue to plague many developing nations. The SDGs call for efforts that reduce childhood morbidity by 70% by 2030. In addition, neglected illnesses, such as Trachoma, continue to pose a tremendous burden for underserved communities, and the SDGs call for an end to these illnesses by 2030 as well. Fortunately, the most effective way to reach these targets is with programs and partnerships that ensure ongoing access to hygiene supplies and education. We’re taking an active role in leading efforts to meet this goal through our slate of global programs and partnerships.
Goal 4: Quality Education
One of the primary reasons for chronic absenteeism is hygiene-related illnesses, which can cause children to miss so much school they ultimately drop out and fail to receive an education, only perpetuating chronic poverty. Clean the World Foundation supports this goal by operating our outcome-based Soap in Schools programs in high-risk communities globally. This program provides ongoing access to hygiene supplies and education to students, instilling proper handwashing as a lifelong routine and improving attendance rates so that children can stay in school and receive the education they need to ultimately break the cycles of poverty that have plagued their communities for generations.
Goal 5: Gender Equality
Globally, women and girls are disproportionately disadvantaged in economic and educational opportunities. We’re working to address these issues through our microlending programs, which provide small-scale soap-making jobs to women in high-risk areas. These women are able to further the mission of providing soap and hygiene education to communities in need, while also earning a sustainable income to support themselves and their families. In addition, we’re also proud to provide hygiene kits specifically designed for women, ensuring they have the specific hygiene items they need to stay healthy. Finally, our programs and partnerships in schools help ensure girls are able to receive the hygiene supplies they need to stay in school and receive the same quality education as their peers.
Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation
This goal calls for equitable and universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene for all by 2030. This is the primary goal addressed by Clean the World Foundation and is perhaps the most important goal of all. In fact, many experts agree that without progress towards this goal, the other goals and targets cannot be achieved. Our global efforts to provide ongoing, sustainable access to hygiene supplies and education directly furthers this target. In addition, our global partnerships with organizations providing sustainable access to water and sanitation create comprehensive efforts that lead to sustainable progress and positive health outcomes around the world.
Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
When people are healthier, they are able to work more regularly and improve their household incomes considerably. Clean the World Foundation programs improve health for people and communities globally, leading to improved economic participation and overall economic growth. In addition, our microloan program provides sustainable jobs in developing communities around the world while also furthering our impact by ensuring there are constant supplies of hygiene items for all people at all times.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production
Clean the World is addressing this goal directly through our worldwide soap and amenity recycling programs, an innovation we pioneered in 2009. This sustainability effort, which recycles and repurposes consumable items that would otherwise be discarded in landfills, leads to significant reductions in waste streams. We’re proud to work with thousands of hotels and other partners spanning multiple industries across hundreds of communities around the world.
Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals
Our approach relies on collaboration across multiple sectors and industries throughout the social enterprise, directly supporting this goal’s target of significantly embracing multi-stakeholder partnerships. Within Clean the World Foundation, we rely on various partnerships to help us maximize the efficiency of our operations, allowing us to achieve our impact goals without duplicating program efforts or wasting donor funds. In addition, we also participate in global groups that help oversee the strategies and plans for addressing the goals. We’re proud to be actively involved in relationships with the World Health Organization, various UN agencies, and many more.
Great progress has been made in recent years towards ensuring a more sustainable future for our planet and its citizens. But much work remains. The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide the framework for making considerable progress and Clean the World is proud to be actively engaged in working to make them a success. From helping eradicate neglected illnesses and hygiene-related deaths, to improving environmental sustainability efforts, we’ll continue to lead the charge to improve the lives of millions of people around the world.
Of course, we can’t do this alone. We’re grateful for the tremendous support we receive from partners and donors globally to make our work possible. Every contribution allows us to get that much closer to achieving important goals like these. Together, we truly are making a difference, one bar of soap at a time.