Why Focus on World Toilet Day?

by Virginia Sowers, ChildFund Community Manager

Today is World Toilet Day. And if that very thought causes you to laugh, that’s OK. We need more good-humored, regular people on the planet.

After you enjoy a few jokes and bad puns, you actually should be in the right frame of mind to think seriously about a world problem.

Some 2.6 billion people (nearly half of the world’s population) don’t have access to toilets and proper sanitation, according to the 2010 Update by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation.

Diarrheal diseases kill five times as many children in the developing world as HIV/AIDS, UNICEF reports.

Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection, according to the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.

Each of these facts is daunting on its own, yet ChildFund has found that lack of proper sanitation also contributes to poverty perpetuation. When children, especially girls, do not have access to adequate bathroom facilities at school, they don’t attend class. Who knew that a lack of toilets contributes to illiteracy?

When young children attend schools without latrines or even soap and water to wash their hands, disease spreads quickly. Attending school shouldn’t be a health hazard. But for so many children, that’s exactly the risk they face. All because they don’t have access to sanitary facilities. Conditions are often no better for them at home, where untreated sewage pollutes villages and water sources.

So, on World Toilet Day, it comes down to action. Take a stand against disease and poverty by educating your friends and families about the importance of toilets. Even better, make a commitment to help fund a project like ChildFund’s effort to build six latrines for an elementary school in Mexico. The latrines will greatly improve sanitation and privacy, while reducing the risk of disease for boys and girls who just want to learn.

One response to “Why Focus on World Toilet Day?

  1. Hot on the heals of World Toilet Day, 20 November is Universal Children’s Day.

    A day to reflect on the rights of children. Rights that we take for granted in some parts of the world. The right to education. The right to accessible books and educational resources. And the right to develop through fun and play.

    In Indonesia, Rainbow Reading Gardens is working to uphold these rights on Universal Children’s Day. http://tamanbacaanpelangi.com/?p=876

    We would love to hear from others around the world who can share experiences and ideas.