In a unique and remarkable CSR initiative under the aegis of ICC Cricket For Good and Team Swachh, players from the 16 participating ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 men’s and women teams will engage with children and adolescents on sanitation and toilet use, as one essential step towards ending open defecation in India.
As the cricket frenzy of the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016 begins, cricketers from 16 teams will join forces to promote messages on health, sanitation and hygiene as part of the innovative Team Swachh campaign.
Team Swachh is the first in a series of collaborations between the ICC Cricket For Good, UNICEF and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) with the aim of leveraging the vast reach, appeal and immense power of cricket in India. This visionary collaboration aims to build a social movement for sanitation and toilet use, thereby leading to an open-defecation free India.
During the tournament, cricketers of participating teams will interact with children through a cricket coaching programme and educate in the use of toilets, stressing on the importance of hygiene and sanitation at the specially designed Team Swachh cricket clinics set up at the various stadia.
With more than 564 million people still defecating in the open – the largest number of any single country in the world and half the global total – India’s children suffer the effects of poor toilet use. Almost 1 in 10 of the 1.2 million children under five years old who die every year in the country succumb to diarrhoea, which is linked to poor water, hygiene and sanitation. Some 40 per cent of the country’s children are stunted – chronically malnourished – a condition which is linked to open defecation.
UNICEF India Representative Louis George Arsenault said, “Open defecation affects every aspect of a child’s life putting them at risk of stunting and exposing them to avoidable diseases. The aim is to harness the enormous popularity and appeal of cricket in this country to spread the word about why everyone should use a toilet. We can achieve this if we come together as a team – then we will see real progress.”
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar also emphasized the need for team play, “Ending open defecation and achieving sanitation for all in India takes a genuine team effort in which all relevant actors–from the Government to the people practicing open defecation, from role models to international development partners–play together as one team.”
At the ICC WT20 Host City Tour during the month of February- March 2016, children and adolescents from local NGOs in the host cities joined Team Swachh and got an opportunity to meet local heroes like Yuvaraj Singh, Venkatesh Prasad, Umesh Yadav, Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwari, Rishi Dhawan, Gurpreet Singh Mann, Pawan Negi, Sameer Dighe, Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami, Shubhlakshmi Sharma and Diana Edulji. They got themselves photographed with ICC WT20 Men’s and Women trophies on the Nissan Trophy Tour float that travelled more than 3,000 km- through the eight host cites.These prominent cricketers demonstrated handwashing, played cricket and toilet-based cricket games, reaching out to urban and rural populations with basic hygiene messages.
Speaking at the launch, ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said ICC was committed to working with UNICEF to help improve the health, education, nutrition, and protection of children. Globally, ICC and UNICEF will engage the broader cricketing community to empower children and adolescents. Under the umbrella of Team UNICEF, UNICEF continues to use the power of sport to change the lives of children.
Note to Editors
In October 2015, the ICC Cricket for Good and UNICEF launched a five-year global partnership in New York. They decided to engage the broader cricketing community to empower children and adolescents. In particular, during the many ICC events over the next five years, they will develop and implement various community outreach programmes and initiatives in collaboration with coaches, cricketers and cricketing personalities.