Swachhata Doot - your chance to make a difference

Published: Mar 26, 2018

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Do you find yourself looking for opportunities to give back to society…especially now that you feel relatively settled in your life? And yet, when you look for ways to help the less privileged, are finding time and a suitable cause your biggest hurdles?

Well, here you go; the Swachhata Doot campaign from Unilever may interest you…


For many years, Gurpreet Singh had worked, persevered and excelled at his daily job at one of Hindustan Unilever’s factories in Punjab. But somewhere deep inside, he yearned to do more. He hoped to do something for his community and, more importantly, his nation. That’s when an opportunity came knocking on his door, in the form of a unique programme by Hindustan Unilever called Swachhata Doot, which means ‘Messenger of Cleanliness’.  Today, Gurpreet, and scores of other Swachhata Doots like him, are trained on how to implement the programme and have been making a difference in their communities.

The programme aims to empower the socially conscious, like Gurpreet, to become messengers of cleanliness. Swachhata Doots serve their communities by propagating the importance of 3 Swachh Aadat – washing hands with soap (Haath), drinking boiled or purified water (Munh) and using a toilet and keeping it clean (Bum) –  a message carried by the company’s popular social awareness campaign, ‘Haath, Munh, Bum; Bimari hogi kam’.

One-third of India’s children are being affected by repeated illness*

Lack of water, sanitation and hygiene are thought to cause up to 50% of all child malnourishment.
(Source: UNICEF INDIA)

India has the highest number of stunted children in the world; one third of the global total of stunted children under the age of five is in India.

The Urban Doot
And here’s where you come in. The Swachhata Doot program aims to harness the collective power of citizens to bring about social change. It is designed to enable citizens to act, despite their hectic lives.

So, how can you participate?
As time is the greatest constraint you may face in your endeavour to help, the time commitment required of a Swachhata Doot is pegged at a bare minimum.

Mobility, in the sense of spending time on travel, to make a difference, is likely to be the next big challenge for you, given your ongoing commitments. That is taken care of too; through the programme, a Swachhata Doot can make a phenomenal impact just sitting at home - by teaching hired help – like cooks, cleaners, domestic support staff, drivers, milkmen and others, who in turn will ensure that their children internalise good hygiene habits.

The last concern that you may have is your ability to ‘teach’. Well, the programme has put together a handbook (https://goo.gl/Soxnjt ), which guides the Doot through the entire process. It covers the what, who, when, making spreading this message a piece of cake.
The bottom line is that just 15 minutes of your time, spent as a Swachhata Doot, without even moving out of your comfort zone, can change an entire lifetime.

Your Map and Guide

To enable citizens to teach their help and ensure that the habits are adopted, HUL has partnered with Bangalore-based NGO Janaagraha. Together they built a volunteering platform (https://goo.gl/fPncxE ) where readers can be directed to an easy-read, freely downloadable handbook. This handbook is virtually a step-by-step guide that gives simple actionable answers to the questions, ‘How do I become a Swachhata Doot?’ ‘Where should I begin?’ ‘How should I approach?’ ‘What should I teach?’

It teaches you behaviour changing techniques and equips you with both the information and the deliver route you could take. As research shows that it takes 21 days to change an old habit or to form a new one, it provides you with a 21-day tracker sheet that helps you create a behavioural change in the person you seek to protect from recurring disease.

Perceptible Success
The most gratifying part of this mission is that the fruits of your effort become apparent, in the form of lesser instances of illness and happier, healthier people you interact with in your day to day life.


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