Success stories in the fight for access to basic sanitation are a source of lessons to attain the SDG 6. The webinar “Valuing toilets beyond visible” showcased three experiences that provide valuable knowledge on the complex relationship between defecation and sanitation: the fight against open defecation, the use of feces and the healthiness of slums.
Having safe latrines is essential to support any development strategy. It is vital for the health and to avoid diseases due to fecal contamination. It is the key factor to eradicate open defecation and to provide dignity and safety to women. These are the challenges of SDG 6 highlighted on World Toilet Day. The Foundation’s projects show that every culture, every situation requires specific solutions.
Can the use of the bathroom cause a division in society? This is what cur-rently happens in most cities in India, where the domestic staff suffers the reminiscences of ancestral classism. #CleanYourHeart, a short film by the We Are Water Foundation, reflects a situation that hampers the socio-economic development of the country and sends a message of progress supported by the younger generations.
We are not aware of what we have until we lack it in a moment of need. The social experiment carried out by the Foundation in a well-off area of India on World Toilet Day started the campaign #CloseOpenDefecation in a country where more than 250 million people defecate in fields, streets and railways. A fake toilet stirred consciences.
In India, in addition to adequate and dignified toilets, it is necessary to extend knowledge and hygienic practices among the population, especially in schools and women of menstrual age. This is a goal that requires important socio-cultural and educational advances and is taken on by the We Are Water Foundation in its projects in India. On World Toilet Day these efforts took on special prominence.
The new Construction manual of latrines and wells is based on the experience gained by the We Are Water Foundation in its sanitation projects all around the world.
The activities of the Foundation have seen a great increase. Last year, apart from the new projects, the awareness raising actions have established baselines in the world of water and sanitation.
No one feels embarrassed anymore when talking about it. Referring to the lack of latrines implies talking of the greatest healthiness problem faced by mankind, as it is the main cause of the open defecation of 946 million people. We have exorcized the latrine of social taboos and we now see it as a source of economic growth.
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