It’s time to say thank you to your loo
World Toilet Day is a UN recognized event, observed annually on 19 November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.
Can you imagine not having a toilet? Can you imagine not having privacy when you need to relieve yourself? Although unthinkable for those living in wealthy parts of the world, this is a harsh reality for many – in fact, one in three people on this globe does not have access to a toilet! Have you ever thought about the true meaning of dignity?
World Toilet Day was created to pose exactly these kind of questions and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people face. World Toilet Day brings together different groups such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets. Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day has become an important platform to demand action from governments and to reach out to wider audiences by showing that toilets can be fun and sexy as well as vital to life.
World Toilet Day is not just about toilet humor, or an attempt to make toilets sexy. World Toilet Day has a serious purpose: it aims to stimulate dialogue about sanitation and break the taboo that still surrounds this issue. In addition, it supports advocacy that highlights the profound impact of the sanitation crisis in a rigorous manner, and seeks to bring to the forefront the health and emotional consequences, as well as the economic impact of inadequate sanitation.
World Toilet Days’ vision is to grow as a collective campaign uniting on 19 November everybody who is passionate about toilets to ensure that access to proper sanitation, which has been declared a human right, becomes a reality for all.
It’s been three weeks since we launched the Give a Shit campaign here at GOOD, to help spread awareness around sanitation issues. We developed a mobile tool to allow people to take action on their mobile phones in helping to provide better health and sanitation to people all over the world. You can check it out here.
I joined GOOD just four weeks ago to help elevate issues within global health and development, particularly issues related to water, health, and sanitation. I’d say I’m pretty well versed in this field—I devoted the last 10 years of my education and career to it. But I’ve got to admit, I need some help answering this question.
Illustration by Tyler Hoehne
The ‘sink-urinal’ saves water, encourages men to wash hands
A Latvian designer named Kaspars Jursons is trying to help solve European water shortages by redesigning the men’s restroom. His new urinal design includes a tap and sink right over it.
"It’s not just a fancy piece of art," he says. “The idea is about function and consumption. You are washing your hands in the sink on top of the urinal, and the same water that’s running is also used to flush. You don’t have to use water twice, like when you use the urinal and wash your hands in separate sink."
(Photo courtesy of Kaspar Jursons)
During the month of July, GOOD is running a campaign called Give A Shit for our community to take a small step toward getting involved in the fight for better water and sanitation around the world. Check it out on your mobile phone. In the meantime, our friends at Toilets of the World made this awesome list of some of the world’s most interesting toilets.
Did you know that more people have cell phones than toilets? Let’s change that. Join our Give a Shit campaign on water and sanitation issues.
Mobile phones have become ubiquitous across Africa and Asia, but lowly toilets haven’t.
Right now, 6 billion people around the world have cellphones. But only 4.5 billion people have access to a clean commode, the United Nations said Thursday.
That leaves more than 2.5 billion people without a safe place to use the bathroom and more than a million resorting to going out in the open. Both practices, needless to say, can take a deadly toll on communities by dirtying water supplies and spreading diseases.
“It’s still more risky to go to the bathroom in many countries than any other activity.”Andreas Lindstrom, of the Stockholm International Water Institute, said at a conference in Vina del Mar, Chile, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
About 1,800 kids die each day from diseases that could be prevented with decent sanitation, The United Nations Children’s Fund, said in a statement Friday.
“If 90 school buses filled with kindergartners were to crash every day, with no survivors, the world would take notice,” Sanjay Wijesekera of UNICEF said in the statement. “But this is precisely what happens every single day because of poor water, sanitation and hygiene.”
Photo by Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images
Step into Nairobi’s sprawling Kibera slum and it’s easy to see how community tensions escalate into violence.
Overcrowded shanties, garbage piles, and raw sewage were all contributing factors to the ethnic clashes and sexual assaults that ravaged this informal settlement after the 2007 presidential elections.
A group of local Muslim and Christian women calling themselves the Vision Sisters, hope their recent community work will mitigate such crises during this year’s March 4th elections.
They’ve spent the last year operating a facility all the neighbors can appreciate: a public bathroom.
Innovations don’t always need to be shiny and new looking…
Intoducing tippy tap…a hands free way to wash your hands that is especially appropriate where there is no running water or where there is limited handwashing facilities. It is operated by a foot lever and thus reduces the chance for bacteria transmission.
Go Tippy Tap!!!
Learn more: http://www.unicef.org/wash/index_43107.html