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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and a News Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently a journalism student at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Everybody Poops! Talking Crap for World Toilet Day

There’s no other way around it, but the fact is that we all poop. Didn’t expect to read that sentence now, did you? It may sound funny to say out loud, but we all do it. That gorgeous girl you saw at the bar who smiled at you last night? Well, she probably did it a few hours ago. Even that chivalrous gentleman who opened the door for you and said ever so softly in a velvet tone, “you’re welcome” — yup! He did it too.

It might be a taboo subject to discuss or one that garners giggles, but it’s an alarming reality many in developing countries have to endure with an ongoing sanitation crisis that deserves further attention. While many of us are fortunate to go about our business behind closed doors, one in three people in the world do not have access to a clean, safe and private toilet. Moreover, did you know 6 billion people have cell phones, but nearly 2.5 billion people still lack access to improved sanitation?

Young girl, Shatash of the Lingarajapuram Slums standing next to her newly installed toilet in Bangalore City, India. Image Credit: Water.org

Founded in 2001 by Jack Sim, the World Toilet Organization (WTO), a Singapore non-profit that promotes health and sanitation, has declared November 19th as World Toilet Day. The WTO’s aim is to be a global network and service platform where all toilet and sanitation organizations can learn from one another and create awareness for media and global support. Not to mention, help to influence governments to promote dependable sanitation and public health policies.

Since 2005, the WTO has run a World Toilet College that gives training in essential sanitation issues and work towards establishing an independent world body, ensuring the best practices and standards in toilet design, cleanliness and sanitation technologies are adopted through education and preparation. Their college is the first and only training college of its kind and focuses much of its attention on the needs of rural and urban sanitation. Every year, a World Toilet Summit is held and breaks the taboo of toilet discussion.

World Toilet Day is celebrating their third year in over 19 countries with more than 51 events being hosted by various water and sanitation advocates. The day also helps bring to the forefront not just the health aspect of the ongoing crisis, but the emotional and psychological consequences the less fortunate have to face as a result of inadequate sanitation — which is the leading cause of infection.

Hanging latrines in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Image Credit: Water.org

Toilets not only bring privacy, safety and dignity, but for women and young girls it means they don’t need to suffer embarrassment from relieving themselves or cleaning up when menstruation begins. Instead, they can simply continue their education without the hardship and fear. When they’re able to continue their lives as is and attend school, they ultimately become an asset to their community and help develop economic stability. With a toilet at their convenience, young girls and women don’t have to wait until darkness, risking rape or encounters with wild animals. For families, it would mean they don’t have to go through the hardships of ill-health and pointless diseases that can be preventable. It’s a startling fact, but diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 worldwide, and all because of the lack of one basic item: the toilet.

Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time. You’re reading this, wondering: what do we do? Well, it boils down to water. Water plays a big part with the sanitation crisis around the world, with diarrhea being the leading cause of illness and death. Sadly, most locations are surrounded by unsafe drinking water and the unavailability of water for hygienic purposes.

In an article written by Matt Damon and Gary White, co-founders of Water.org for The Huffington Post last year, the two explained that even with solutions being made readily available and known to leaders, there is an increasing lack of access to safe water and sanitation — a truth that continues to claim more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.

“On average, those living in slums pay 7-15 times more per litre of water than owners of nearby five-star hotels. This is because subsidies are largely delivered through unrealistically low water tariffs — if you are too poor to afford a water connection, you can’t capture the subsidy. Similarly, if you are a poor day laborer in Port-au-Prince and you want a drink of safe water to quench your thirst, you will pay 250 times more than the cost of New York City tap water. Those who lack cash pay with their time — hours each day spent scavenging for water from public taps that frequently run dry, rivers, or even drainage ditches. There are nearly a billion people in this trap of water insecurity and about 2.5 billion lack a sanitary toilet.”

Women at a training workshop, learning stone masonry skills used to build an Ecosan toilet. Image Credit: Water.org

As per what Damon told The Huffington Post, this really is a challenge worthy of a global movement, similar to what was needed to ring the alarm around the fight against HIV/AIDS. As part of World Toilet Day, this past week Water.org co-founder, Matt Damon teamed up with the World Toilet Organization to raise awareness and acknowledge the life-saving powers of a toilet. Damon is a strong advocate for the water sanitation crisis and has traveled to areas in need of help since the organization’s inception, urging donations and support to make a difference.

Last week, social network addicts were able to authorize ToiletDay.org to auto-post a daily status update between Nov. 19 to 24 from either their Facebook or Twitter accounts. The status updates will post news and stories on your account and help to garner a wider audience for awareness.

Water.org put together an infographic of the different types of toilets. Take a tour of some of the toilets that can keep you healthy, make you sick, create compost for your garden, and even allow you to “go” in space! Click the infographic for a Toilet Day Field Guide! Image Credit: Water.org

Similarly to the cleverly constructed campaign in 2011 backed by Water.org, interested participants can donate their voices through social networking, along with setting up their own “Toilet Day Fundraiser” with friends and family with hopes to raise funds for clean water projects around the world.

It’s been estimated that every dollar spent on water and sanitation generates returns of $8 in saved time, increased productivity and reduced health care costs. With water being the lifeblood of our bodies, economy, nation and well-being, it is no surprise what a difference it makes for us when it’s clean. Yet, in recent years it has become one of our natural resources that have suffered heavily from disregard.

Like the water crisis, World Toilet Day raises a massive issue that needs to be taken door-to-door. If left unresolved, life without a toilet not only will cause shame and missed opportunities but assist in disease and death for many.

If you would like to take part and raise a “stink” about the lack of sanitation for billions around the world, donate your voice through Twitter or Facebook today at ToiletDay.org!

Everyone deserves to take a safe poop so let’s cut the crap and get down to business. Together we can end this crisis in our lifetime.

If you want to learn more about World Toilet Day, take the short quiz below with Matt Damon and help to solve the world sanitation crisis by simply spreading the word, donating your voice and making a difference for World Toilet Day.

 

Connect with Tania Hussain on Twitter and Google+!
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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy World Water Day! | The Hudsucker - March 22, 2013

    […] water, and more than 2.5 billion still don’t have access to adequate sanitation facilities. Despite the giggles, there’s even a day to celebrate and recognize the importance of proper …. It’s a hard truth and a real shame because as the world’s population expands, so do these […]

  2. Everybody Poops! Talking Crap for World Toilet Day | westlifebunny - March 30, 2013

    […] Continue reading… […]

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