On World Toilet Day, Let's Talk About Global Sanitation
November 19 is World Toilet Day. Yes there’s a day to think about toilets, or a lack thereof, around the world.
And while we can all crack a good potty joke today, we should also take some time to think about the 2.5 billion people worldwide that lack access to adequate sanitation.
But what does that really mean?
Imagine what it would be like if there wasn’t a bathroom in your office, your house, or the Starbucks on the corner. Think about how that would affect not only your time but also your health, hygiene, and community environment. This is the reality for more than 2.5 billion people worldwide. And while men face the burden of poor sanitation, women and girls are the real victims, facing additional challenges like shame, disease, harassment and even violence because they have nowhere safe or clean to go to the bathroom.
- 1.25 billion, or 1 in 3, women and girls around the world are without access to adequate sanitation
- Diarrhea, caused by a lack of access to clean water and safe toilets, kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria, and measles—combined
The lack of access is an inconvenience and actually impacts all aspects of a girl’s life, including her ability to get an education. Despite this, the sanitation crisis has not taken top priority on the global agenda. In fact, it is perhaps one of the most off-track targets for the Millennium Development Goals.
But we can #ChangeThat—and we must. Increasing access to sanitation in the developing world is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. It gets girls in schools, improves health, and allows women to get jobs—contributing to economic growth within communities.
So what’s the solution?
While it may seem easiest to just throw money at the problem and build lots of toilets, we know this doesn’t work. The developing world is riddled with broken infrastructure, water pumps, and toilets.
At Water For People, the organization where I work, we take a market-based approach to bring lasting access to sanitation facilities. This means that we partner with communities to install toilets and help local entrepreneurs build businesses to empty toilet pits and keep them working. It’s called Sanitation as a Business and it’s effective.
This World Toilet Day, let’s give a shit about all of the people who struggle with poor sanitation. All of the women and girls forced to go out in search of a private place to “go.”
This is a conversation we must have. So on World Toilet Day, join @WaterForPeople, @GOOD, and others for a Twitter chat about the effects of the sanitation crisis on women and girls and the real solutions needed. Join us on November 19 at 12 p.m. EST using #ToiletDay.
Should Society Fund Mindfulness? Putting taxpayer money toward meditation programs? It’s not as crazy as you might think.
Syrian Refugee Women Learn Self-Defense with Predictably Badass Results Two Arab-American women hope to empower Syrian women fleeing their home country’s conflict with physical training and emotional healing.
Achilles’ Password: Online Security’s Susceptible Straggler These new technologies promise to make your vulnerable passwords obsolete.
Guess Which Wealthy Country Can't Guarantee Access to a Basic Human Need? This week, Detroit's neediest had their water turned off. Here's what you can do about it.
If More Couples Smoked Weed, Would There Be Less Domestic Violence? Spouses who smoke weed are less likely to inflict physical, sexual, or psychological harm on their significant other.
Better Living Through Science: Women in STEM A look at pioneering women in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
How You Type Says a Ton About Your Emotional State This new computer program can see right through your poker face.
Let’s Do More. A Call-to Action by Gap CMO Seth Farbman Data shows that 24% of the 21 million Americans making minimum wage are working in retail, and 64% of those are women.
Meet the Self-Proclaimed President of Colombia’s Hottest Music Trend Champeta started as an outsider Afro-Colombian folk movement. Now it's taking over the country.
Cryptocurrency Regains its Reputation in Paradise Can a renowned tourist hub in Bali become a bitcoin wonderland?
Can a Miracle Fruit Overcome its Unsavory Reputation? Conservationists, farmers, and nutritionists are singing the praises of the breadfruit. If only it didn't taste so bad.
New App Could Tackle Hunger, Will Help You Find a Good Deal PareUp wants to connect food purveyors to thrifty consumers looking to score deals on unused, but still edible, items.