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
Traditionally, water symbolizes life and renewal, but in Sierra Leone it is also a vehicle for epidemic and death — the focus of photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz’s project “Water Is Gold,” which documents the causes and effects of the country’s recent cholera outbreak.
Last year, Sierra Leone experienced the worst cholera outbreak in its history, Abdulaziz writes for the Pulitzer Center, which funded his trip. There were 20,736 cases of cholera with 280 deaths since the beginning of 2012, he adds.
Abdulaziz spent most of his time in and around Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, which, he writes, was “built to support less than half the current population of 2 million.” The slums are overcrowded, unsanitary and sprawling — the perfect breeding ground for the disease.
Photo Credit: Mustafah Abdulaziz
At the Sanitation Hackathon (Dec 1-2 2012), civic technologists developed projects that address challenges facing the sanitation sector. Register now for next phase of the process: the Sanitation App Challenge.
In December 2012, civic technologists teamed up with subject matter experts in an intensive marathon to find innovative solutions to challenges facing the sanitation sector. The event, born of a global partnership among The World Bank, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Random Hacks of Kindness, Eirene, Nokia, Open Cities, and Civic Commons, among others, took place simultaneously in several cities around the world December 1-2.
Linking problems with solutions
The Sanitation Hackathon challenged programmers to develop innovative software solutions that addressed real-world problems in sanitation. During the months leading up to the event, subject matter experts and members of the public created, submitted and voted on problem definitions that highlight specific sanitation challenges that could be mitigated by innovative ICTs. Then, during a weekend-long marathon event, teams of programmers in cities around the world developed innovative solutions to these problem definitions. Learn more about the event »
The Sanitation Hackathon emerges out of the recognition that the rapid increase of penetration, awareness and literacy in information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the developing world can transform water and sanitation management. Mobile phones, the Internet and open data are creating new entry points to make sanitation services more transparent, inclusive and participatory while forging new connections between the government, its citizens and the private sector.
We’re just getting started.
Since 2006, SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihooods) has building low-cost ecological toilets in Haiti that provide sanitation access to thousands of people and transform the collected wastes into compost critical for agriculture and reforestation. With the support of Grand Challenges Canada and in partnership with Konbit Sante, SOIL will begin installing private household toilets in northern Haiti to test a revolutionary new social business model for providing household sanitation in urban slums.
(Via Grand Challenges Canada)
Reinvent the Toilet Challenge from The Gates Foundation
“We are designing the system for use in the developing world to reduce disease transmission from improper sanitation.”
That’s my toilet!
Nine-year old Nikita, a fourth grade student at Green School, Bali, Indonesia, stands in the toilet of this eco-friendly school. The school and washrooms are completely built from bamboo.
Globally among rural families, lack of clean & safe toilets can increase under 5 deaths by 29%.
© UNICEF/2012/Anne-Cecile Esteve & Josh Estey
That’s my toilet!
Alka, 7, walks out of the her family’s new toilet and wet room in Kali Hardia. The toilet and wet room were built as part of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program in Rajasthan, India.
World Toilet Day is 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.
Learn more: http://www.worldtoiletday.org/
© UNICEF/2012/Sachin Soni