Kicking up a stink
It’s out of order! 1 in 3 people across the world don’t have somewhere safe to go to the toilet. Bad sanitation is one of the world’s biggest killers: it hits women, children, old and sick people hardest. Every minute, a child under the age of five dies because of dirty water and poor sanitation. Around half the people in the world have an illness caused by bad sanitation.
Women and Girls suffer most
In Africa, half of young girls who drop out of school do so because they need to collect water – often from many miles away – or because the school hasn’t got separate toilets for boys and girls. Not having a loo puts people at risk of being bitten by snakes as they squat in the grass and makes women and girls a target for sexual assault as they go to the toilet in the open.
We must do what we can to make a difference.
Providing people with clean water and basic sanitation is one of the most cost-effective ways to release people from poverty: for every £1 spent on water and sanitation, more than £5 is returned through saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs.
Missing the target
In 2000, 189 countries from across the world signed up to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. The plan was that we’d all work together to end extreme poverty by 2015. In many areas, huge progress was made – but sanitation is one of those targets that is way off. It’s predicted that we won’t hit the sanitation target in sub-Saharan Africa until the 23rd century.
I saw a twinned toilet on a visit to a Bedfordshire school, and I thought it was one of the best ideas ever! It’s simple, it’s fun, but it’s also really, really important.
I take it for granted that I have somewhere to go to the loo. But one in three people in the world don’t. Imagine seeing your children die because your family's drinking water is contaminated by human waste. My toilet and I are proud to be twinned with a long drop in Bihar, north India. It’s time for a sanitation revolution, and every toilet counts!