The Day the World Stands For A Seat in the Toilet
World Toilet Day is recognised every year on November 19, to inspire action and create awareness on the importance of toilet in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDG). Recent statistics by WHO & UNICEF showed that 4.5 billion people globally do not have access to safely managed sanitation while 2.3 billion people do not have basic sanitation facilities. This shows the enormous gap that still exists and the task needed for the sanitation targets of the SDG to be met.
Sub-saharan Africa is worse hit by this sanitation menace. Many Schools and homes are without a basic amenity such as toilet. People have chosen a convenient path to defecate in the bush and even when toilets are built, intensive behavioural change sensitization and implementation is needed to stop open defecation.
An interview by Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation, a Nigerian-based NGO, revealed that most schools in Nigeria are without a safely managed toilet facility and the girl-child are the most affected. During menstruation, these children would miss school because there is no safe and clean toilet for them to wash up and change their pads (https://www.hopespring.org.uk/world-toilet-day-2017/).
Schools are training grounds for youths and the youths make up most of the world population. If the world really wants to stand for the poor and vulnerable people to have a seat in the toilet, rehabilitating and constructing toilets for schools is a good place to start. With 13 years left to achieve the 2030 agenda, intensified efforts is needed in the sanitation sector especially in the area of policy making and implenentation, data collection and monitoring, and funding innovative sanitation technologies.