The 19th November is World Toilet Day. The World Toilet Organization created World Toilet Day (WTD) to break the deadly silence around sanitation and to raise awareness of the struggle of the billions of people in the world who still do not have access to adequate sanitation. It is a day to draw attention to the many challenges this brings to their daily lives and the dire consequences for their health and wellbeing. A day to encourage discussion about what needs to be done in order to tackle the sanitation crisis! It is a call to action, a call for everyone to get involved in changing behaviour and policy in order to end open defecation and thereby change the lives of billions of people for the better. And it is also an occasion to recognise and celebrate the efforts and achievements of organisations and individuals in bringing about positive change in the area of sanitation and hygiene.
This year, the first year of the 19th November being officially designated World Toilet Day by the United Nations (despite it having been 'unofficially' honoured since 2001), the theme is 'We can't wait to improve sanitation'. And with 2.5 billion people around the world still lacking appropriate sanitation, the call for action is as urgent as ever!
The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Knowledge Hub at IDS is marking the occasion with the launch of a new publication series Frontiers in CLTS: Innovations and Insights - a series of short notes offering practical guidance on new methods and approaches and thinking on broader issues. The first issue looks at participatory latrine design. A methodology that can ensure that users participate in creating and selecting sanitation technologies that are appropriate for their needs.
Petra Bongartz is the Coordination, Communication and Networking Officer for the Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Knowledge Hub, based at the Participation, Power and Social Change Team at IDS.