Water for Women celebrates toilets, and everyone’s right to one, this World Toilet Day

Onsite latrine construction in Kampong Cham_Thrive Networks

Worldwide, 4.5 billion people live without access to safely managed sanitation services – in other words, a toilet connected to a sewer or pit or septic tank that treats human waste. November 19 is World Toilet Day and this year, Water for Women is celebrating everyone’s right to a safe and accessible toilet.

A lack of access to safe sanitation services may mean that the nearest toilet is a long and unsafe walk away; or that you have to wait all day, until late in the evening so that you can go out and find a private spot to do a poo; or perhaps people in your community are going to the toilet far too close to your village water supply so the drinking water is contaminated. The impact of exposure to human faeces on this scale has a devastating impact upon public health, living conditions, education and economic productivity across the world.

‘This is a context which can be hard to relate to when at any given moment, Australian’s have access to not only one clean and functioning toilet nearby, but several’ said Dr Alison Baker, Fund Manager for Water for Women, ‘but for communities in the Asia Pacific region, these challenges are an everyday reality.’ Water for Women is working to change this reality for our nearest neighbours through the delivery of 19 water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) projects.

This World Toilet Day, Water for Women and our partners encourage everyone to think about toilets and how important they are to an individual and community’s wellbeing and prosperity. With 19 WASH projects being delivered in 16 countries and a complementary research component, we also have plenty to highlight when it comes to safely managed sanitation. Today we will be sharing some of the hard work and positive contributions of our ten Civil Society Organisation partners who will be delivering these projects on the ground.

The Australian Government is committed to delivering effective and sustainable long term WASH activities and programs underpinned by gender equality and social inclusion.  Matthew Bond, WASH Specialist for Water for Women says, ‘diversity of thinking and the range of context-appropriate approaches is an exciting part of Water for Women’s sanitation component. That diversity extends well beyond ideas within the implementing CSOs—the Fund’s emphasis on inclusion gives us continued incentive to engage end-users in creating their own sanitation solutions.’

Water for Women is Australian Aid’s flagship WASH program, investing $110.6 million over 5 years from 2018 to 2022. The work of Water for Women will directly contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6) which aims to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet and that no-one practices open defecation by 2030.

Photo: Onsite Latrine Construction in Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia (Thrive Networks)

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