World Toilet Day may sound funny but what it stands for is no joke.
Formed in 2001 World Toilet Day (WTD) is designed to help the billions of people worldwide living without sufficient access to improved sanitation. This lack of sanitation impacts peoples lives in all areas, the education of young girls is often disrupted as they drop out of schools that do not provide sanitation facilities once they reach puberty and the diarrhoeal diseases that are a result of poor sanitation have been responsible for more children’s deaths each year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
Around one billion people still have no toilet facilities whatsoever and have no choice but to go in the open. With over 1,000 children a day dying due to poor sanitation it wasn’t until the 24th of July 2013 that 122 countries sponsored the UN resolution entitled “Sanitation for All” which led to the 19th of November being designated World Toilet Day and thereby recognised as an official UN day.
As part of their initiative to raise money and awareness of their cause, World Toilet hold an annual World Toilet Summit, and run social enterprises known as the World Toilet College, and SaniShop.
The World Toilet Summit is held to bring together delegates and stakeholders of the organisation together for the day to socialise and discuss the latest breakthroughs in sanitation. They hope that by bringing those from all backgrounds in the sanitation sector together they can empower and build the knowledge of those who attend in hopes of improving the sanitation marketplace.
The World Toilet College is one of the World Toilet Organisations social enterprises that provides training to those in the sanitation sector. Their aim is to ensure the dignity of those in the sanitation industry, and to boost their self-confidence by training them to a higher standard by teaching them how to do further jobs such as small repairs, so as to be multi-skilled for future employment.
SaniShop is another of the WTOs social enterprises, through SaniShop they aim to improve global sanitation conditions by empowering local entrepreneurs. The social franchise provides cheap, but high-quality toilet products that are made with locally sourced materials and made by local masons who are trained by Sanishop with the knowledge for installation, maintenance and repairs. Local sales entrepreneurs are used to help trigger demand in their community through sales and hold awareness events for the SaniShop products, toilets can then be built and supplied by the local masons. Since 2009 SaniShop has been responsible for the building of well over 10,000 household latrines.
The WTO also host a number of fundraising events so that everyone worldwide can participate and raise awareness to this important yet overlooked cause.
To join in or host your own fundraising “Urgent Run” , a fun run held on the 19th of November in an effort to “raise a stink” about sanitation please go to www.urgentrun.com and for any further information on World Toilet Day and what it stands for visit www.worldtoilet.org.