What this is really about

 The Global Sanitation Crisis: Together We Can Solve It 

by Sanjay Wijesekera, Associate Director and Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygeine, UNICEF

“We have achieved the MDG (Millennium Development Goals) target on access to drinking water; poverty has been reduced; disease epidemics have been brought under control; more children are in school. But these truly great achievements – a testament to the world’s ability to solve even the most intractable problems – are blighted by the fact that even today more than one in three of our fellow human beings do not have access to even a basic toilet. One third of the world’s population.

Access to sanitation matters.  It matters because it protects children from disease and malnutrition.  It matters because it affects the poorest and most disadvantaged. It matters for the economy of the nation – the World Bank estimates that poor sanitation costs countries between 0.5 and 7.2% of their GDP every year.  And it matters because it is unacceptable that women and girls have to risk being the victims of rape and sexual abuse because they have to go into the bushes to defecate.

“We know that this is not about giving people toilets.  It is about dignity. It is about helping people take pride in being part of communities where everyone uses their own toilet, and where people themselves are empowered to take the initiative, and where others support them to do so.”


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