Public health video & open defecation

Open defecation is featured (at around 00:42 seconds) in a great and informative public health video in the “Risk Bites” video series, which feature insights into risk and safety from Dr. Andrew Maynard and the University of Michigan Risk Science Center

Dr. Maynard also writes about the importance of our campaign:
Source: University of Michigan Risk Science Center

The unspoken but vitally important issue of open defecation

In preparing for the next Risk Bites video (out this week), I came across the website, and was so struck by both the importance of the message and the effectiveness with which it’s communicated, that I felt compelled to share it here.

Open defecation is when people have no option but to defecate outside, on the ground, in full view of other people. It’s a topic that we don’t really like talking about in most developed economies. But it’s at the root of a major global public health crisis.

According to – an initiative led by the United Nation’s Deputy Secretary-General’s call to action on sanitation – one billion people are forced to practice open defecation around the world. The diseases spread as a result include cholera, typhoid, hepatitis and diarrhea. The lives of millions of men, women and children are impacted s a result. It’s estimated that every two and a half minutes a child dies because of inadequate sanitation.

Please do check out the website ( – as well as highlighting an important issue, it’s a great example of smart risk communication.

And please do pass this on.

Thank you Dr. Maynard for helping us shed light on this important issue!

World Bank President promises to help India in cleaning the River Ganges


Source: IBN Live news

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim promised to help India in cleaning up the River Ganges. The remarks came after Kim met Prime Minister Modi yesterday and also discussed a host of issues. Kim has said that they will send their best team to India to work on the project.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:


CNBC-TV18: In terms of governments agreement to clean up the Ganga and there is an agreement with the World Bank which was in with the previous government, to actually take the project forward. It is a billion dollar agreement that the world bank has with the government. How confident do you feel about achieving the objective given the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put his weight behind the Ganga clean-up operation? Jim Yong Kim: You know the clean-up of the Ganga is important is so many ways. I actually went through the Ganga in Kanpur. We saw literally raw sewage being dumped into the Ganga and we also know that spirtually for the people the Ganga is so important. So very very top priority for us and we understand for the government as well, this is a hard project. It’s a huge project, but we have had great success in other areas where we have tackled problems of this size. Again if Prime Minister Modi wants this to be a top thing to work on together, then that’s what we will do. It is hard. We happen to have some of the the best water specialists in the world. We will bring our A+ team here and will do everything we can to help.

Open Defecation at the Thank You Festival

Our initiative to end Open Defecation was featured in last month’s Thank You Festival in Columbia, Maryland (USA), a benefit event that aimed to mobilize millennials to help end extreme poverty. The festival featured top electronic dance music DJs, including Tiësto, Above & Beyond and local talent Alvin Risk, along with installations such as a giant inflatable toilet – drawing attention to the need to improve sanitation worldwide. The event was organized by our partner Global Citizen, along with the World Childhood Foundation. Take a look at some of the great photos and tweets!

Together we can break the silence and end open defecation!

Thank You Festival Thank You FestivalThank You Festival Thank You Festival

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Mandela Day

For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa. Today we honor his legacy on Mandela Day!

Let’s also remember Mandela’s important role as an ambassador for safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

mandela sanitation1

Thank you to our partners the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) for sharing the video and image with us.

New MDG 2014 Report: 1 billion people still resort to open defecation.

Note: The following is an excerpt from the newly released 2014 Millennium Development Goals report.

Over a quarter of the world’s population has gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, yet a billion people still resort to open defecation.

mdgimageBetween 1990 and 2012, almost 2 billion additional people gained access to an improved sanitation facility, one that separates people from faeces hygienically. Despite the large increase in sanitation coverage, from 49 per cent in 1990  o 64 per cent in 2012, it seems unlikely that the MDG target of 75 per cent coverage will be met by 2015. In 2012, 2.5 billion people did not use an improved sanitation facility. Much greater effort and investment will be needed to redress inadequate sanitation practices in the coming years.

In 2012, 1 billion people still resorted to open defecation, a practice that needs to be brought to an end, as it poses a huge risk to communities that are often poor and vulnerable already. Open defecation is most prevalent in Southern Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa. The vast majority-82 per cent of people practicing open defecation now live in middle-income, populous
countries, such as India and Nigeria.

Read the full 2014 MDG report

Open Defecation