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World Toilet Day

Today, on 19 November, it is World Toilet Day! Today is about taking action for 2.4 billion people living without this basic need. Since the adoption of this day by the United Nations General Assembly in 2013, it has been used to sensitize on the importance and necessity of this basic need. Supported by the Sanitation for All Resolution many governments and international NGO’s have been working together. This resolution is also part of the Sustainable Development Goals 2015.

2016 World Toilet Day theme

‘Toilet and jobs’ is this year’s theme and it focuses on how sanitation, or the lack of it, can impact the lives of people. Toilets are crucial in creating a strong economy, improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity. Especially for women and girls’. Lacking a toilet has numerous impacts on businesses as it causes problems in the workforce such as poor health, absenteeism, attrition, reduced concentration, exhaustion and decreased productivity. Investing in proper toilets in workplaces and schools so that women and girls have clean, separate facilities to maintain their dignity can boost what is often referred to as the ‘girl effect’: maximizing the involvement of half the population in a community.

  • 2.4 billion people live without improved sanitation (World Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF 2015)
  • One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2015).
  • Diarrhea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WASHwatch 2016).
  • Disease transmission at work, mostly resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).
  • Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012).

In 2013, the Indian Parliament passed a law banning the cast-based practice of manual scavenging. Their job was to remove human excrement from dry toilets using just their hands and buckets. People doing this were called Bhangi (broken identity) or Dalit (broken people) according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

This practice will take time to eradicate, but as sanitation improves in India, the government is rehabilitating manual scavengers, training them for alternative livelihoods and providing education for their children.

The global demand for water and sanitation services is worth over $50 billion according to PwC reports. So there is a high demand for these kinds of services. Treating sanitation provision as a business opportunity, as well as a fulfilment of people's rights, could help speed up progress and attract investment.

We are proud to contribute to the actions of humanitarians and humanitarian organizations by arranging their travel. But we’re even more proud of the humanitarian efforts of organizations fighting every day to improve the lives of millions of people. The value of these humanitarians is unmeasurable.

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