Raising awareness of the benefits of sanitation on World Toilet Day

Since 2013, 19 November has been recognised as World Toilet Day by the United Nations. This is because, despite compelling evidence that shows the benefits and great returns of investing in sanitation, it continues to be an ‘un-glamorous’ subject for policy-makers.

This is slowly changing. In 2015, the United Nations came out with its new global agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals to achieve by 2030. Its sixth goal calls for the end of open defecation and adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all. This is an ambitious goal but one that the UN is striving to achieve given the detrimental consequences that arise from inadequate sanitation.

“One of the Millennium Development Goals that saw the least progress by 2015 was the one on sanitation,” said Marie-Laure Vercambre, Director of Green Cross International’s Water for Life and Peace Programme. “The international community has again set itself the target of achieving universal access to sanitation, this time by 2030. GCI contributes through its Smart Water for Green Schools projects, by raising awareness and equipping schools with separate toilets for girls and boys. Green Cross has delivered Smart Water for Green Schools projects in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Senegal, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, China and Ukraine.”

The World Toilet Organization was established to address the sanitation crisis and break the taboo around toilets. Since 2001, it has encouraged governments, public and private sector stakeholders and the international community to prioritize sanitation in the development agenda.