World Toilet Day: How to Get Involved
What is World Toilet Day and why did the United Nations design a day dedicated to sanitation and waste removal? World Toilet Day, held on November 19, is an annual day designed to promote action and awareness around the fact that 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to toilets or latrines.
Achieving greater sanitation, as a target of the seventh Millennium Development goal, is moving at a slower pace than other targets and goals. In order to fuel progress in realizing this target the United Nations created World Toilet Day in 2001.
The UN and its agencies, in partnership with a multitude of NGOs and private-sector partners, campaign to bring basic sanitation to the world’s 7 billion citizens. The way in which World Toilet Day attempts to reach this goal is by telling the stories of the 2.5 billion people without access to toilets, offering solutions to the issues, and encouraging dialogue.
According to the United Nations website, the theme of this year’s World Toilet Day is Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation. The fact that 2.5 billion of the world’s 7 billion people do not have access to toilets or latrines presents the issue of open defecation and a lack of privacy. Women and girls that are forced to defecate in the open are at high risk of being sexually assaulted and abused. This year’s theme attempts to push this issue into the public eye in order to promote awareness and facilitate action.
How to Get Involved
You can get involved on World Toilet Day in a number of different ways. You can contribute to the overall mission by raising awareness through personal advocacy on your website blog, in your community, etc., or you can participate in the following campaigns:
- Draw a cartoon to capture the theme of World Toilet Day and share it with others or create an individualized campaign/initiative. The United Nations World Toilet Day website provides a variety of options for participation.
- Organize a fundraising event in your local community or participate in the big squat challenge in which doing squats can help raise awareness and funds for the cause. The World Toilet Organization (WTO) also offers a number of ways for both individuals and corporations to get involved.
- Follow and contribute to the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WorldToiletDay.
Fore more information about World Toilet Day visit the United Nations World Toilet Day webpage.