Swedish fashion retailer Lindex has launched a joint project in Myanmar to increase access to clean drinking water and sanitation in communities where textile workers live.

The collaboration with WaterAid builds on an existing partnership between the two in Bangladesh.

During the two-year project, clean drinking water facilities and proper toilets will be installed in communities and schools in Yangoon. It also aims to improve the water, sanitation and hygiene conditions for textile workers in factories, who are mostly women.

An important part of the initiative is empowering and mobilising women and girls to spread knowledge and lead change in their communities.

"Basic needs come first and without access to clean water and sanitation, women will not be able to fulfil their potential," says Anna-Karin Dahlberg, corporate sustainability manager at Lindex. 

Women and water are both key areas of Lindex's sustainability focus. Women are the ones who are most affected by lack of access to clean water and sanitation, as it often limits their opportunities to get an education. Every day, millions of women walk for hours to get water, which means they have no time left to go to work, go to school or engage in their community.

"Traditionally many businesses limit their actions to ensure access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene in their own or in their first-line suppliers' factories. But without clean water and access to toilets at home and in schools, people will still get sick even if their workplace is clean," adds Cecilia Chatterjee-Martinsen, executive director of WaterAid Sweden.

"WaterAid's partnership with Lindex has previously changed the lives of thousands of textile workers in Bangladesh by improving their access to clean water and sanitation in garment factories, communities and schools."