IUCN Water marks World Toilet Day

19 November 2010 | News story

The IUCN Water Programme, through the Water and Nature Initiative (WANI), joins the global community to mark this year's World Toilet Day, a day to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis.

World Toilet Day (WTD) was created to draw attention to the importance of sanitation and raise awareness for the 2.6 billion people who do not have access to toilets and proper sanitation. Lack of sanitation is the world's biggest cause of infection. Improved sanitation reduces cholera, diarrhoea, pneumonia and malnutrition, among other illnesses. WTD aims to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal target to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.

"Sanitation is part and parcel of the water resource management cycle. With the lack of proper sanitation being responsible for illness and disease worldwide, IUCN is working in partnership with the Global Water Initiative (GWI) to help make sure water resource management is part of sanitation solutions for rural communities in the GWI project regions of Central America, West and East Africa”, said Mark Smith, Head of the IUCN Water Programme.

In the township of San Marcos in Guatemala, IUCN’s partnership with GWI has led to the MICUENCA Initiative where the importance of adequate health and hygiene practices were prioritized by the communities themselves. The results from awareness-raising activities and municipal planning led to the building of new sanitation facilities and greywater systems. The Initiative supplied materials such as cement, iron, ventilation pipes, sheet roofing, and skilled manpower for technical assistance. Municipal governments, together with the Instituto de Fomento Municipal (INFOM) contributed $147,425 for the purchase of materials and implementation of the sanitation systems.

This year in San Marcos, 466 latrines and 685 greywater systems were built in 27 communities. “The process of implementing these sanitation systems, including the establishment of commitments and prioritization of beneficiaries, was a huge step forward in empowering communities and improving their health, as well as the health of the river systems they depend on”, said Rocio Cordoba, IUCN Water Coordinator for Mesoamerica.

In Tanzania the GWI consortium (including CRS, CARE and IUCN) are working towards empowering people to manage water better in the arid and semi-arid lands of the Pangani River Basin. As part of the project, the promotion of ECOSAN technologies at community-household level was piloted and provided good results, including the installation of ECOSAN latrines in 400 households. GWI provided training to 155 community members with the strategy of deploying 31 Village Health Promoters, trainers in sanitation advocacy. Through hygiene promotion campaigns, new latrines were constructed in 325 households. At the educational level, Children's Hygiene and Sanitation Training (CHAST) and Child to Child (CtC) training took place in 14 primary schools reaching 1,446 schoolchildren. As a result of these trainings, 58 tippy taps and 33 wastes disposal pits are now in use in these schools.

''As we celebrate this year's World Toilet Day, the GWI consortium in Tanzania marks two years since its inception in 2008. Bringing in the 3 organization’s strengths helps facilitate and speed up our work to tackle the region’s water and sanitation problems. The progress is real and there is now hope for millions of people who do not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities'', said Lukas Kwezi, GWI National Programme Coordinator for Tanzania.

World Toilet Day is celebrated every year on 19 November. The World Toilet Organization is the main driver for this global event, a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide.

Contact person GWI Guatemala: Orsibal Ramirez, Proyecto MICUENCA UICN, 6TA, Calle 7-15 Zona San Marcos, Guatemala, Tel +502 77602950, Email orsibal.ramirez@iucn.org, Website: http://gwi-micuenca.org

Contact person GWI Tanzania: Lukas Kwezi, National Program Coordinator, Global Water Initiative Tanzania, PO Box 1792 Moshi, Tel: +255 275 7449, Email: lukas.kwezi@co.care.org, Website: http://www.globalwaterinitiative.com
 

For more information, please email claire.warmenbol@iucn.org