By Junaid Ahmad. Originally published on Devex
I have enormous pride in what my own country, Bangladesh, has been able to achieve in virtually eliminating open defecation over the last two decades, and often ask myself why other countries haven’t achieved the same. Even today, 1 billion people still practice open defecation around the world.
The challenge to eliminate this practice by 2030 is not trivial. The good news is we now know what it takes and that’s why I’m optimistic this goal is feasible.
Over half of the people practicing open defecation live in India, and while there have been marginal reductions over the last 10 years there, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is now prioritizing this issue and elevating cleanliness and sanitation as a national development priority. Such political will at the highest level is absolutely fundamental, as demonstrated by other countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Once political will is harnessed, the path to eradicating open defecation falls within the line of sight. Continue reading