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Unilever, a multinational conglomerate based in the United Kingdom and Netherlands, has announced the launch of a global foundation that will work to improve the quality of life for people around the globe through the provision of improved hygiene, sanitation, access to clean drinking water, and basic nutrition.

Announced last month at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, the Unilever Foundation has formed partnerships with Oxfam, Population Services International, Save the Children, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme to accomplish its mission. The foundation also will provide direct funding, in-kind donations, expertise, and employee support to other organizations around the globe that are working to address country-specific challenges aligned with its goals.

For example, the foundation's partnership with Oxfam will focus on programs that empower individuals and deliver good nutrition and clean drinking water, while its support for PSI will target efforts designed to improve the health of children and families through behavioral change interventions focused on hand washing, clean drinking water, and sanitation. Save the Children will use funds from the foundation to increase access to health workers, life-saving vaccines, and high-impact health and nutrition programs, while UNICEF will focus on expanding its Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) initiative, a program that promotes good hygiene practices and raises awareness of the sanitation crisis in the developing world. Last but not least, WFP will partner with the foundation to boost Project Laser Beam, a public-private partnership that aims to create a scalable, sustainable model to improve nutrition, health, and livelihoods in Bangladesh and Indonesia.

"We live in a rapidly changing world. One where populations are growing, water is becoming increasingly scarce, and where food security is a growing issue," said Unilever chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed. "Unilever is committed to addressing the unmet social needs that our business can play a unique role in helping to solve....Together with our partners, we will deliver life-saving solutions as we work toward achieving these ambitious goals."

Source: “Unilever Launches Global Foundation.” Unilever Press Release 1/27/12.

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Diarrheal Disease Indicator Added to Funding Map

Lack of access to clean water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene are inextricably linked to the prevalence of gastrointestinal infections. Diarrhea, a common symptom of these infections, kills around 2.2 million people globally each year, mostly children in developing countries. Given this stark reality, diarrheal disease death rates are a critically important contextual indicator for those working in the WASH sector.

To help site users better account for this context in their work, WASHfunders has added the World Health Organization’s data on diarrheal disease death rates as a new overlay to its funding map. Simply go to the “indicators” tab and click on “diarrheal disease” to view incidence rates for any given country.

Are there other economic, health, or social indicators that inform your work on water, sanitation, and hygiene? Let us know at so that we can continue to make site enhancements that meet your information needs.

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