World Toilet Organization and
Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
November 19th, 2012
Today is World Toilet Day, a day set aside not simply as a celebration, but as a way to highlight the plight of 2.5 billion people without access to a clean, private toilet.
“I give a shit, do you?” is theme of global awareness campaign.
19 November 2012 Geneva/Singapore: “I give a shit, do you?” is the plea of the 2012 global World Toilet Day campaign put together by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the World Toilet Organization (WTO).
Observed annually on 19 November, World Toilet Day (WTD) aims to break the taboo around toilets and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper dignified sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people continue to face.
“World Toilet Day aims to draw attention about the major impact the humble toilet has on our lives.
Access to a clean, private toilet equals health, dignity, freedom and safety” says Chris Williams, Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, a Geneva-based, United Nations hosted organization that is championing the issue. “In addition, sanitation can also be looked at as a motor for economic development. Studies show that each dollar invested in sanitation generates five dollars in return. For countries, and individuals, sanitation is one of the best investments to be made” he concludes.
The sanitation crisis is not only an affront to dignity. Hundreds of tons of feces and urine plunge each day directly into rivers, creating a human and environmental health hazard. Every twenty seconds a child dies from sanitation-related illness.
“What we don’t discuss, we can’t improve” says Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization. “Over the last 12 years World Toilet Day has become an amazing groundswell movement for everyone to support better toilets and sanitation conditions around the world. World Toilet Day has also become a day of creativity as people all over the globe celebrate it in their own style” he adds.
Designed as an online campaign, www.worldtoiletday.org, World Toilet Day wants to cast its net far and wide to get the attention of not just those working on these issues already, but also decision makers and the public.
Campaigners have taken World Toilet Day to new heights – today, get involved with:
• The “World’s Longest Squat” will take place in Bettiah, Bihar, India, the culminating site off the 50-day long Nirmal Bharat Great WASH Yatra. Yatra attendees and staff will squat, like those 1.2 billion people around the world who open defecate every day because they lack a clean, private toilet, and see who can squat the longest with observers cheering on www.nirmalbharatyatra.org
• Ghana WASH Project and join route marches and dramas by school pupils www.ghanawashproject.org
• “Big Squats” at the University of Iowa chapter of Engineers Without Borders (USA) and at Queens University Belfast (Northern Ireland)
• SochinAction – Be the Change Exposition in Singapore (Malaysia), the world’s largest social movement by children. They are encouraged to design and innovate on to make positive changes in the world they live in crisis. http://sochinaction.com
• The Public Toilet – Domestos, in collaboration with the artists’ collective Greyworld, is supporting WTD by erecting a digital squatting sculpture in Potters Field, London (UK). You can have your face digitally uploaded on the sculpture by recording a short video or a photo of yourself at www.thepublictoilet.com
• Toilet Hackers will be celebrating World Toilet Day in New York City (USA) with a benefit reading of An Inconvenient Poop. Written by Shawn Shafner and Croft Vaughn, and directed by Scott Nogi, this reading features a talented cast with multimedia and music. All proceeds will go to Toilet Hackers’ sanitation program in Samburu, Kenya. http://callofdoodie.eventbrite.com/
• The Keep Your Promises campaign, led by End Water Poverty (EWP), launches a petition calling on governments to keep their promises on sanitation and water www.keepyourpromises.org
• The DefeatDD campaign invites you to make your sanitation wish and share it on Twitter and Facebook: http://www.defeatdd.org/take-action/world-toilet-day