UN Sustainable Development Goal’s in Action

Hygiene Poverty refers to the inability of individuals or families to either access or afford basic personal hygiene and sanitary products, such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, sanitary pads, and other essential items. It is a growing global issue that affects people across various socioeconomic backgrounds. Over the last 3-4 years the world has seen a rise in Hygiene poverty due to global economic factors, war, climate change and covid.

People experiencing hygiene poverty often face financial constraints that make it difficult for them to allocate funds for personal care products. This may be due to low income, unemployment, or unexpected expenses that leave little room for non-essential items.

Hygiene Poverty directly impacts on Well-Being, a lack of access to basic hygiene products can have significant consequences on physical and mental well-being. Poor hygiene can lead to health issues, such as skin infections, dental problems, and an overall decline in self-esteem and mental health.

In this Multimedia Micro-paper, The UN SDG initiative have focused on one organization who have emerged to address hygiene poverty. These efforts often involve distributing free hygiene products, raising awareness about the issue, and advocating for policy changes to ensure better access to these essential items through product and cash donations.

Initiative Chair Lucy Brialey interviewed Karen Harvey from Toiletries Amnesty

Addressing hygiene poverty requires a multi-faceted approach involving government policies, community initiatives, and public awareness campaigns to ensure that everyone has access to basic hygiene products, regardless of their financial situation.

One prominent aspect of hygiene poverty is the inability to afford menstrual hygiene products. Women and girls, in particular, may face challenges in managing their menstrual health, leading to missed school or work days and increased vulnerability.

Hygiene poverty can contribute to social stigma and exclusion. Individuals who cannot maintain proper personal hygiene may face judgment from others, further impacting their confidence and social interactions.

Lack of access to hygiene products can affect attendance and participation in educational settings. Students, especially girls, may miss school during their menstrual periods if they cannot afford sanitary products, contributing to educational inequalities.

Some advocates are pushing for policy changes to reduce the economic burden on individuals and families. This includes eliminating sales taxes on hygiene products, increasing access to affordable products, and integrating hygiene education into public health programs.

Hygiene poverty is not limited to specific regions or countries. It is a widespread issue that affects people in both developed and developing nations, highlighting the need for comprehensive solutions on a global scale.

Support Toiletries Amnesty HERE

Read more about the good work of Toiletries Amnesty in our Multimedia Micro-paper here


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