India: The International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation (IWSH) is pleased to announce its support for a cause led by Woloo, an Indian startup company whose app aims to ensure women access to clean, safe and hygienic toilets in public places.
The app, which is available on Android devices and is coming soon to IOS, helps women locate the nearest washroom when they are away from their home or office.
Even though women comprise more than 48 percent of the Indian population, lack of access to such facilities remains a problem. Finding a usable toilet in public spaces can be a challenge for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds, particularly those who regularly venture outside of the home. Many of the public toilets that are available were built with limited budgets and are poorly designed and maintained. While approximately 13% of the world’s female population lacks access to toilets, studies have put that number closer to 50% in India. Each Woloo-enabled washroom follows a standard protocol to ensure safety, cleanliness, and hygiene, which is based on a guideline developed by the Toilet Board Coalition, a global nonprofit enterprise, and the Woloo Assurance of Hygiene (WAH) based on safety, hygiene, and accessibility parameters. Woloo maintains more than 1,500 washrooms across Mumbai, with plans to expand to Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Bangalore.
“Woloo’s mission is to provide hygiene dignity to a diverse group of women of all ages in India,” said Woloo founder/CEO Manish Kelshikar. “Our partnership with IWSH and IAPMO will certainly help in raising the standards of shared sanitation in India to world-class benchmarks. IWSH, IAPMO and its partners, and Woloo will work together and build trust in shared and public sanitation.” IWSH has donated funding for 1,000 annual subscriptions, which will go to women of Mumbai’s Railway police force, and is contributing toward a public relations campaign promoting a new facility in the Ghatkopar Metro station in Mumbai. Ashirvad Pipes, Cera India and A.O. Smith India have generously donated IAPMO-certified products for the project. The 1,000-square-foot Woloo-PowderRoom Lounge will include eight smart toilets, a 14-seat café and a 600-square-foot retail area catering to women’s hygiene, personal care, intimate utility and beauty products. An exclusive preview will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Indian Standard Time Sunday, January 30.
The mission of Woloo, which opened its first facility on November 19, 2019 – World Toilet Day – is to provide world-class access to hygiene facilities for women of all ages and diversities across India.
“Lack of access to improved sanitation, especially out of the home, for women has remained a difficult problem to solve, leading to immense anxiety on one hand and continuing a high burden of disease on the other,” said Dr. Nimish Shah, managing director of IAPMO India Pvt. Ltd. “There are very few sustainable models that have successfully solved this problem. Woloo is a promising women’s hygiene and sanitation access platform that is taking this challenge head-on. IWSH and IAPMO are proud to partner with Woloo in its mission to provide safe, clean, and hygienic sanitation access for women. We believe that quality, certified hardware underpins the durability of improved sanitation, and Woloo powder rooms are perfect venues to demonstrate well-designed, hygienic public toilets.”
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