World Toilet Day ~ November 19
November 19 is designated by the United Nations as World Toilet Day.
In the words of the UN, World Toilet Day is a day to take action. 2.5 billion people of the world’s 7 billion do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. This has dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development. Having to defecate openly infringes on human safety and dignity. This holds particularly true for women and girls, who lose privacy and face shame having to defecate in public, or – after painfully holding their bladder and bowels all day – risk attack by waiting until night falls.
“Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation” is the theme for this year’s World Toilet Day, which seeks to put a spotlight on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy as well as the inequalities that are present in usability. Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.
With the tagline “WeCantWait”, the Day is an opportunity to inspire action and underscore the urgency needed to end open defecation, especially for the women and girls who are particularly vulnerable. Join the global campaign to raise awareness about World Toilet Day and learn how you can take action by visiting the UN World Toilet Day website.
Recognizing the importance of school children having access to clean, safe washroom facilities has been the catalyst for two of WaterBridge Outreach’s recent water projects in India.
The children at the schools in Melaiyuur and Karanai in Tamil Nadu, Southeast India, had no functioning washrooms. Curt Degler of Save Int'l, Peter Coughlan and Gail Tsukiyama of WaterBridge Outreach visited the schools on several occasions to meet with the principal, the staff, and the students to see if new facilities could be constructed. With plans, budgets and the necessary permissions in place work was undertaken to provide facilities that provides stalls for the girls and the boys.
The construction of the washrooms at the Melaiyuur school, financed by WaterBridge Outreach, was a long process. A great deal of clearing and preparation was necessary before building work could begin. The photos on the left illustrate various stages of the work at the school, including Curt Degler of Save Int’l with paint pot and paint brush in hand – and they show many of the boys and girls who attend the school in this remote rural area. To learn more about this project and how you can help us click here.
As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states in the UN’s Message for the World Toilet Day: “We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility. That is why the theme for this year’s World Toilet Day focuses on “Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation.”
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