Every third man does not have his own toilet, People in Need is helping to change that.

Every third man does not have his own toilet, People in Need is helping to change that.

18. 11. 2014

More than 2.5 billion people, one third of the world population, still does not have access to many fundamental and important things for life, such as a clean and sanitary toilet. In addition, nearly half of these people (1.1 billion people) must carry out their daily need in nature and their dwellings in the vicinity. These facts and the associated problems that are trying to be prevented, are the reasons for the thirteenth celebration of the World Day of toilets on 19th of November this year.

Not only does a lack of sanitary toilets contribute to spread of diseases, and in particular diarrhea and respiration problems, but it is also exacerbating some of the existing, negative social phenomena, such as illiteracy, poverty and child mortality," says Jan Faltus, an expert from People in Need’s water and sanitation sector.

Some Afghan women ‘go to the bathroom’ after midnight

The main danger for health stems from performing necessities in nature, namely feces, which then then gets spread through the air  out into the water and soil. From there, these pathogen end up directly on the plates of people and ultimately ingested. Each year due to poor hygiene and sanitation in developing countries more than 2 million people will die. This means one death occurs every twenty seconds. Many children often die within the first five years of age.

These diseases are the reasons why adults can’t consistently go to work and children go to school. This reflects into the family budget, and also the total amount of literacy. But also very lack of toilets considerably limits people’s lives. Hundreds of thousands of people can't go "to the bathroom," when they need, instead they must wait for appropriate times and conditions. Women, for example in Afghanistan, are “going to toilet” after dark, which however, creates the issue of an increased risk of physical injury or assault. Containment of a relief also bears the risk of health complications - For women it may be among the other urological and gynecological problems that may complicate subsequent births.

If there are no toilets in schools, when girls are in a period of menstruation this interrupts their schooling. The same is true for teachers. For example, in India twenty-three percent of girls remain at home after five menstrual days. In African schools, which are not equipped with toilets, girls in their teenage years are no longer studying. About a tenth of girls in this period are not going to school anymore. Without quality education, theses girls have limited chances at access to a better future.

People who want to have the toilet stand alone

To improve their health situations, Africa and Asia seeks to People in Need’s activities in both areas. "Projects for increasing level of hygiene and sanitation are often part of our health and educational programs, and programs aimed at improving standards of living in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and democratic Republic of Congo. We pay them separately, in Ethiopia and Angola," says Jan Faltus, and adds that the cornerstone for them is education.

"People who want to have the toilet stand alone. We are showing them why it is beneficial to their lives, and that its construction need not be expensive at all, it is sufficient for twenty dollars, which is about four hundred of czech crowns," explains Faltus. A simple latrine can be made from just natural and available materials. The first step, is the digging of a hole in the ground with the cover plate, around this walls of clay or wood will be erected and will cover all of the thatch or tin roof. "Viable form of construction depends on the climate and soil, with minor repairs that may need to be made in two or three years."

If people want more durable construction, there must be more money, tens of dollars. "They may have latrine with a concrete base plate, brick walls with ventilation, nets against insects in the windows and a corrugated roof. Any such construction offers not only years, but is also a certain social status symbol. And that's just what we're doing in Ethiopia and Angola - First of all we're trying to change people's behavior through campaigns and at length, with so-called dedicated sanitačnímu marketing," clarifies Faltus.

Village “Without open defecation into the wild”

In the first phase it is necessary to change the view of local people as to what is socially acceptable. "People need to recognize that beliefs in nature are not only health, but also about what is socially inappropriate. For example, to organised so-called shame parade at the village wall focuses on the good examples within households and without, and those that still do not have a bathroom. The latrine is becoming a social status and comfort symbol - I don't have to go into the bushes, I have privacy and I can exercise itat any time he comes to me", Faltus's getting closer to thinking to local people.

But if a latrine is created, this will put all of the inhabitants above the village post white flag and the village will declared "Open defecation free", or the village "Without open defecation into the wild". Then you could go to phase 2 of sanitačního marketing. "Based on questionnaires, we will have found out what they would have in the context of local hygiene and sanitací like to buy, and their demand will be joined with the offer artisans. The aim is to improve the quality and durability toilets, and that should be the concrete base plate, brick masonry, or tin roof," clarifies Faltus.

Currently People in need is working in the first or second stage, in ten villages in Ethiopia, 37 villages in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other dozens villages in Angola. Only for the year 2013 , they managed to build or repair nearly four thousand latrines, which cover the almost 34 thousands of people. The aim is not the number built latrines, but mainly the fact that people are using latrines and kept them in a clean condition.

Improved sanitation has already been experienced by 1.9 billion people

World Day of Toilets ha been celebrated since 2001. In the past year this day was celebrared thanks Singapore activity in the attic General Assembly included between official UN days. International organizations, nonprofits and thousands of people throughout the world on 19th of November recall that one third of the world population that remains without ownership a toilet. Most of them are the people from sub-Saharan countries, Africa and Asia. Improving the access to drinking water and basic sanitation is one of the Millennium Development Goals and ensures, since the year 1990, the availability of managed toilets to nearly 1.9 billion people.

Author: Jan Blinka