Tag Archives: Sanitation

An Unexpected Question About Toilets: Day 1 in India With Mandy Moore

By Mandy Moore, PSI Ambassador

This morning for breakfast, I joined the PSI India team with their partners and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to learn that they are building toilets and developing a sanitation system in Bihar by turning the traditional nonprofit model on its head. PSI India has developed a social enterprise and is treating the open defecation problem like a business problem.

The idea is to make toilets convenient, affordable and attractive in a state where 80% of the population currently lives without them.

When communities lack basic sanitation, kids die (more than 450,000 did in India last year due to diarrheal disease), people get sick, and girls and women are at greater risk of rape and violence when they’re simply trying to find a private place outdoors to relieve themselves.

Continue reading An Unexpected Question About Toilets: Day 1 in India With Mandy Moore

Photos: Why World Toilet Day Matters

The first time I saw open defecation was in a slum in Delhi. I was taken aback. I had always heard about open defecation, but until that point I had never seen it and couldn’t imagine it happening in an overly crowded urban area. It was also at that moment that I knew I had to learn as much as possible about the ways in which people use the bathroom, if they have one at all.

2.5 billion people lack improved sanitation and 1 billion people do not have access to a bathroom and must resort to the undignified practice of open defecation. There are 7 billion people on the planet.

Women who must defecate in the open and who also have to use the community toilets are at increased risk of violence and rape.

When I visit communities and families in low-income countries I always look for toilets and latrines to see the conditions in which people relieve themselves. Below are some photos of toilets I took in India, Ethiopia, Philippines, and South Africa.

Learn more about World Toilet Day at www.unwater.org/worldtoiletday.

Latrine - South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa

Continue reading Photos: Why World Toilet Day Matters

Sanitation Wisdom from a Zambian Chief #ZambiaHealth

As you may know I am in Zambia with the International Reporting Project as a New Media fellow. Ten of us are here in the country to report on HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other rarely covered stories in the region.

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Yesterday we visited Macha, a small Southern province town 60 miles from the nearest city, Choma. Macha is the home of the Malaria Institute at Macha, an institute that has successfully reduced the number of malaria cases in the area by 90 percent. The vast majority of the residents of Macha are subsistence farmers who live on small homesteads.

In order to achieve such an unprecedented reduction in malaria cases,  the will of the community must first be achieved through the area chief. Chief Macha was the conduit through which much of the malaria success took place.

We were invited to Chief Macha’s palace to speak to him about how he fights HIV/AIDS, but instead he wanted to speak to us about sanitation and health. Now that malaria has been controlled in Macha, Chief Macha has taken up a new cause – village sanitation. In fact, last year Chief Macha was honored as a UNICEF Zambia Supporter for Sanitation.

He spoke to us about his philosophy about ensuring every homestead has its own pit latrine and how he created a 100 percent Open Defecation Free community.

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“You cannot do anything without your health.” – Chief Macha

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“Food and sanitation must be fought the world over. – Chief Macha

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“We should all be sanitation drivers.”  – Chief Macha

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“I have given myself to sanitation.” – Chief Macha

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“Without clean water you have a problem with disease. If you drink dead water you come down with diarrhea.” – Chief Macha

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“If you have the will, things can be done.” – Chief Macha

Photos:  Jennifer James

2.4 Billion Still Lack Sanitation

jmp_cover130By 2015 2.4 billion people will still lack access to proper sanitation – that’s one-third of the world’s population. In a new joint report by the WHO and UNICEF, Progress on sanitation and drinking-water 2013 update, we learn that MDG 7.C will not be met and in fact will be missed by 8%. There has been an improvement in sanitation coverage since 1990, however. Two-thirds of the world’s population gained access to proper sanitation since 1990. East Asia has seen the largest increase in sanitation rates since that time. Sanitation coverage has increased from 27% since 1990 to 67% in 2011. Still there are 45 countries that have less than 50% sanitation coverage including most of sub-Saharan Africa and India.

Based on numbers in the report open defecation has decreased to 15% worldwide since 1990 and many countries have made significant strides to decrease the open defecation rate including Vietnam and Cambodia, as examples. Vietnam decreased their open defecation rate by 37%. Now only 3% of Vietnam’s population practices open defecation. Cambodia, as another example, lowered its open defecation rate from 84% to 58% within an 11 year span (1990 – 2011).

“There is an urgent need to ensure all the necessary pieces are in place – political commitment, funding, leadership – so the world can accelerate progress and reach the Millennium Development Goal sanitation target” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director for Public Health and Environment. “The world can turn around and transform the lives of millions that still do not have access to basic sanitation. The rewards would be immense for health, ending poverty at its source, and well-being.”

According to the report “urban dwellers make up three-quarters of those with access to piped water supplies at home. Rural communities comprise 83% of the global population without access to improved drinking water source and 71 per cent of those living without sanitation.”[1]

Read the full report at www.who.int/water_sanitation_health

Photo: UN