WaterAid and H&M Conscious Foundation join forces for safe water, toilets and hygiene in schools


12 Feb 2014 | AU

H&M Conscious Foundation and WaterAid are launching a new global partnership for safe water and sanitation in schools, with the goal to achieve long-term transformational change and directly benefit over a quarter of a million of the world’s poorest school children.

The primary goal of this global program is to change the lives and future prospects of students by delivering safe water, sanitation and hygiene in schools to improve health and education. The program will with $A10 million deliver both immediate and long term transformational change; changing lives of students and influencing policies at national and international levels.

"H&M and WaterAid have been working together on clean water and safe sanitation since 2002. Today, the H&M Conscious Foundation is proud to announce that WaterAid will drive one of our global programs for change. The focus is to deliver clean water, sanitation and hygiene in schools to improve health, attendance and education and thereby transforming children’s futures," says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO H&M and board member of the H&M Conscious Foundation.

During 2013, H&M asked its customers and employees to decide which three development issues the H&M Conscious Foundation should support over the coming years. The result was clear: ‘clean water’ was one of the issues of most concern.

Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid international, comments on the new partnership, "This unique partnership with the H&M Conscious Foundation will change children’s lives immensely. By ensuring that both girls and boys have an equal chance to stay in school and learn in a safe, healthy environment will allow them to fulfil the potential and provide a promising future. The H&M Conscious Foundation’s funding helps us in our aim to ensure that everyone, everywhere has safe water and sanitation by 2030."

"As H&M moves into the Australian market this year we are thrilled that they have decided to support WaterAid globally and help improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children around the world through the provision of safe water, toilets and hygiene in schools," says Adam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of WaterAid Australia. 

For further information or interviews please contact:
Kirrily Johns, Communications Manager
Tel: +61 (0)3 9001 8246 or Email: kirrily.johns@wateraid.org.au

Key statistics
• 768 million people still do not have access to clean and safe water.
• 2.5 billion people still lack access to a toilet, with huge negative impacts on wider human development including health, education, gender equality and livelihoods.
• Diarrhoea is the 2nd biggest killer of children under five years old globally. Nearly 9 out of 10 cases of diarrhoea can be prevented by safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
• In 2011, only 45% of schools in least developed and low-income countries had adequate sanitation facilities.
• In 47 out of 54 African countries, girls have less than 50% chance of going to secondary school.
• On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating.
• It is estimated that within four years of high school, each girl loses 156 learning days, equivalent to almost 24 weeks out of 144 weeks of learning due to lack of possibilities to handle their periods in school.

About WaterAid
WaterAid is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to helping the world’s poorest people gain access to safe water and sanitation. WaterAid works in 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 19 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 15 million people with toilets and sanitation. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org.au

About the H&M Conscious Foundation
The H&M Conscious Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation initiated in connection with H&M’s 60th anniversary in 2007. The foundation is the philanthropic arm complementing H&M’s sustainability work. Through its support to programs and initiatives, the H&M Conscious Foundation strives to make positive impact on policy level and in the everyday life for people and communities where H&M operates. For further information, visit http://www.hm.com/consciousfoundation