Toilets Change Lives – Lending a Hand to Social Venture in India
As part of Kimberly-Clark’s commitment to improving sanitation worldwide, the company’s Toilets Change Lives (TCL) program has created new opportunities for employee volunteers to directly engage with the global sanitation crisis.
Shweta Shukla, Director of Communications and Government Affairs for the Asia-Pacific region, represented Kimberly-Clark as a consultant on a recent visit organized by the Toilet Board Coalition in India. In 2014, Kimberly-Clark co-founded the Toilet Board Coalition, a group of leading companies, government agencies, sanitation experts and nonprofit organizations, which aims to develop commercially sustainable and scalable solutions to sanitation.
India accounts for the world’s largest open defecation population with more than 70% of households in rural India not having access to toilets.
Shukla traveled to the rural district of Orissa, an eastern Indian state, to provide consulting expertise to local a social enterprise, called Svadha – an affiliate of eKutir, which focuses on providing sustainable WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) solutions to rural Indian customers through an entrepreneurial model. They offer complete supply chain management through partnerships with rural entrepreneurs who are expected to become financially sustainable in the process.
During the 3-day consulting engagement, Shukla partnered with the agency staff to refine their business model from strategy through practical on-the-ground application. Along with other volunteers from Unilever and members of the Toilet Board Coalition, the team addressed ways to improve measurements, going beyond KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to actual social impact delivery such as tracking the percentage of open defecation-free villages, women’s safety and the reduction in sanitation-related diseases among children.
Also, Shukla introduced Behavior Change fundamentals to the team, which led to targeting women as Behavior Change Champions in villages, and leveraged her communications expertise by providing frameworks of how to drive greater consumer engagement through more targeted communication strategies.
“This experience has helped me understand in-depth how the entire eco system of social entrepreneurs, NGOs, communities and corporations can work together to bring improved sanitation to those most in need,” says Shukla. “I look forward to applying the learnings from this consulting experience to our upcoming Toilets Change Lives program in India.”
Toilets Change Lives generates charitable funds directed to nonprofits who are helping to solve the global sanitation crisis, while also driving business growth and engaging employees to make meaningful contributions in communities.
Elizabeth Del Toro
CSR & Sustainability Communications