Monday, November 26, 2012

another reason to celebrate

Did you know that November 19 is World Toilet Day?

I guess some may not be so excited to find out that they share their wedding anniversary with such an event, but I think any effort to increase access to sanitation is worth celebrating (albeit a little late)!

Did you know that:
  • 2.5 billion people don't have access to a clean toilet?
  • Hundreds of children die each day due to water-related diseases?
  • 1.1 billion people have no private place to defecate - they have to use fields, bushes, ditches or even a plastic bag?
  • Girls are often forced to skip school during their period due to the lack of clean, private toilet facilities?
  • Every one dollar invested in sanitation yields a return of five dollars?

I still remember my experience in Ghana, where I lived and volunteered in a Liberian refugee camp for a couple of months. A group of teenage girls used to walk past each day, off to a bushy area behind the camp to relieve themselves. I mistakenly assumed these girls were also affected by this strange need teenage females have to visit the bathroom together. Why is it we can't seem to go alone?

They told me later it was actually for safety - without clean, accessible, private toilets, the girls were forced to use the private but dangerous forest area behind the camp, where they were vulnerable to attacks from local gangs.

Oh how we take our ceramic thrones for granted!

World Toilet Day aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge. Sanitation issues aren't as 'sexy' or 'impacting' as some other issues, and thus don't always get the funding that they need. But given poor sanitation affects so many people, and good sanitation is essential to a healthy, happy life and personal dignity, it really is a cause worth investing in.

Perhaps you'd like to give someone the gift of a clean, hygienic toilet through World Vision Gifts or Really Useful Gifts by TEAR?

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