Posted by: Wasrag | October 14, 2013

WORLD TOILET DAY – 19th November

World Toilet Day created by the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001 and now recognized by the UN is celebrated each year on 19th November.

With Rotary’s help WTD can be celebrated not only in 50 or more countries where it has been before but at every one of our 34000 Clubs.  What do Rotarians and the Community need to be aware of?

FACT 1 Each Club has the capacity to raise a not before seen, massive global awareness that one third of the world’s population (2.6 billion people) does not have access to any basic sanitation.

FACT 2 Most Rotarians would not be aware of the 6000 worldwide deaths per day of children less than 5 years of age is caused by diarrhoea brought about by the lack of basic sanitation facilities and basic health and hygiene programs.

FACT 3 Water does very little to help reduce these deaths.  In fact the WHO estimates the provision of water itself will only reduce deaths by 5% compared to over 70% if people are given soap and water along with a toilet.

FACT 4 Nor are we aware of the restrictions that open defecation and lack of toilets greatly restricts the activities of women and young girls in developing countries who stay home or do not go to school during menstruation because there are no toilets or there is lack of privacy in community toilets.

FACT 5 The UN and Rotary International have established Goals and Areas of Focus which include reducing those without basic sanitation by 50% by the year 2015.  While the same water goal was reached in 2010, the global expanding population has blown the sanitation target out to 2026. But it doesn’t mean we give up either.   

ImageSo what can your Club do to earmark this day of necessity?  First of all, highlight the day with your Club members and their families by at least making them aware of how large the problem is through bringing the FACTS to their attention. Also bring the FACTS to the attention of your local newspaper or TV station’s attention.

Wasrag is working with the World Toilet Organisation to spread its very relevant 2013 theme to get everyone for a few seconds to say “We Can’t Wait for Sanitation”.  Have your DG, PDG and DGE make short U tube films of them making the above statement and adding a brief statement on the FACTS.

You might also start looking for some publicity stunt like “the Big Squat” run in 2010 in six locations across Singapore Island in 2012 whereby 600 squatting people tried to hide through the lack of any basic sanitation.  In Melbourne Australia, a German program of orange cardboard cut outs with boldly printed “Where Would You Hide” signage hid squatting humans. What about arranging a dozen people to sit on toilet pans in front of a favourite restaurant (McDonalds?) around lunchtime eating their lunch like in the photo of an Australian exhibition a year ago?   Imagine the interest created with individuals sitting on large displays of toilet pans like that shown in the photos especially if your message can be linked to those without toilets.

Many Clubs and Districts are now involved in extending their efforts of previously supplying clean safe water only and have now extended their project to include sanitation and health and hygiene programs.  Is your Club in this position? Why not enquire from the host Club if it needs or knows of other villages or Clubs which are in need of sanitation, health and hygiene facilities.  Your actions could help reduce illness, child deaths and poverty.

Sanitation is recognised as having made the greatest   single contribution to improving the health of the world’s population in the last 300 years.                                  

Sanitation also plays an important part in the seventh UN Millennium Goal and Rotary’s Areas of Focus of ensuring environmental sustainability.  Together with the UN and other supporting NGO’s and organizations ways must be found of accelerating the reduction of the conditions which cause death, ill health and poverty to over one third of the world’s people from the lack of sanitation.  Wasrag is here to help Rotarians, but it needs your Club to participate.

Visit Wasrag’s website at: “www.StartwithWater.org” or, email Bill Chapman, who will endeavour to assist.

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