Beyond Infrastructure: Building New Attitudes Also Needed to End Open Defecation, UN Says

UN Press Release: World Toilet Day

1 billion people dont use toilets: 1 in 6 people in developing regions; New UN-Water GLAAS findings underscore critical gaps in monitoring, particularly for sanitation in rural areas

(United Nations, New York, 19 November) — The UN today called on religious, education and opinion leaders in developing regions to join government officials and champion a halt to open defecation, a practice of 1 billion people worldwide — one-sixth of the developing world’s 5.9 billion inhabitants.

At UN Headquarters in New York marking World Toilet Day, coordinated by UN-Water, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson highlighted the health threat posed by lack of access to sanitation, and the particular dangers open defecation poses for women and girls.

Said Mr. Eliasson: “We know that political will at the highest level is critical to address these challenges. However, we also know that success at ending open defecation goes beyond infrastructure.  It requires the understanding of behaviors, cultural attitudes and social norms.” Continue reading

Video: eThekwini in Durban, South Africa brought water & sanitation to 1 million people

The Municipality of eThekwini, Durban, South Africa, won a UN-Water Best Practices award for best participatory, communication, awareness-raising and education practice with their initiative ‘A Participatory and Learning Based Approach to Raising Awareness on Water and Sanitation’. This video presents the different components of the initiative and explains what worked and what didn’t when trying to improve access to clean water and sanitation in the municipality.

Water: Our life, our future

(The Guardian) Lack of toilets blights the lives of 2.5bn people

UN deputy secretary general says failure to address sanitation and open defecation threatens disaster for third of humanity

By Sam Jones. Originally published in The Guardian.

Toilets: 2.5bn people go without – a 99-second video animation

The world’s lack of progress in building toilets and ending open defecation is having a “staggering” effect on the health, safety, education, prosperity and dignity of 2.5 billion people, the UN deputy secretary general, Jan Eliasson, has warned.

Speaking as the UN prepares to debate a new set of development goals – and in the aftermath of the rape and murder of two Indian girls who were attacked as they ventured into a field to relieve themselves – Eliasson said failure to address the issue of sanitation would prove disastrous for a third of humanity.

“Sanitation is cross-cutting: if you make progress on sanitation, then you dramatically improve the achievement of at least four other goals,” he told the Guardian. Continue reading

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.