DFID commits £ 1Mn to RB & partners to scale up Project Hope
(Project Hope aims to reach 1Mn rural households across Pakistan)

UK Department for International Development has committed £1Mn pounds to scale up Project Hope to reach 1Mn rural households in Pakistan. Project Hope, an initiative founded by Reckitt Benckiser (RB) (the makers of Dettol, Harpic&Mortein),is about helping low-income households help themselves and encourage long-term positive change within their communities. It focuses on women – decision makers of household practices – to adopt good hygiene to keep their families healthy.

It does this in two ways: by community awareness sessions for women and children that advocate hygienic practices needed to prevent diseases like diarrhoea; and by training some of these women to become ‘sehataapas’ (hygienists) who go door-to-door within their community to reinforce the messages taught in the awareness sessions. While reinforcing, they provide quality health & hygiene goods such as soaps, oral hygiene products (toothbrush, toothpastes etc)at low cost, within the community to help them stay healthier and improving their own household income.

The success of the project lies in the constant reinforcement of the health and hygiene messages, combined with affordability which supports habit change within these communities. This basket of quality products is sold door to door through a network of SehatAapas who not only reinforce the message of health and hygiene, but also earn a percentage margin on the sales.

In the pre-scale up phase, the project has been implemented in over 27 villages of Sargodha and Narowal districts ensuring greater social and economic impact in a practical and sustainable manner.

Based on the success of the pilot, RB Pakistan, Shield Corporation, Shan Foods, Santex, and Rural Support Program Network (RSPN) have come together with the support of UK Department of International Development (DFID) to establish a company which will actively work towards rural development and women empowerment following the SehatAapa model.

While talking to the media, Laura Kelly, the Head of Business Engagement– DFID, said, “The women of Pakistan deserve to be given opportunities to break out of their conventional roles and this project hopes to do just that.

Through this, we aspire to create a network of hygienists (SehatAapas) who not only take the message of health and hygiene to the rural households, but also provide access to affordable hygiene solutions.”

PattyO’Hayer, Global Head of External Comms& Affairs – RB Pakistan, said, “This project has come a long way since its inception.

It is now growing into a company which will have its board of directors from 5 different organizations which are passionate to instill behavioral change in terms of health and hygiene alongside empowering the women of the nation”.

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