Meeting physiological needs remains unsafe for more than 962 million people without adequate facilities. The global achievement of health, full schooling, and gender equality depends on one of the simplest and most inexpensive elements of sanitation. On World Toilet Day, the UN reminds us that we are still far from having toilets for everyone.
The Sahrawi refugees who have been living in the Algerian desert for 46 years continue to face an uncertain future. The Spanish government’s recent policy shift has rescued one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises from oblivion. The short 22nd of April by Cesare Maglioni, finalist at the We Art Water Film Festival 5, shows how difficult it is to wash one’s hands in Smara, one of the five camps that host them, where a daily struggle for water, malnutrition, and hygiene is fought.
No path to sustainability is possible if women are not the focus of any actions. The Agenda 2030 will not be achieved without the participation of each and every woman in the world free from the injustices that oppress them. The access to water and sanitation reveals some of the most excruciating inequalities, which are often little known. We know that much remains to be done, but the path is becoming clearer: with them and for them. Here are some of the facts as of today.
The terms describing hygiene facilities are simpler than those for access to water and sanitation; they refer to the existence or lack of handwashing facilities and the availability of clean water and soap. Covid-19 has increased the value of these practices, which are fundamental to human health and dignity, and inaccessible to more than 2.27 billion people.
We are collaborating to bring water and create a vegetable garden for 1,000 schoolchildren whose families struggle with drought and famine in one of the most impoverished areas of Zimbabwe. These schoolchildren will be adults in 2030. The attainment of the SDGs depends on education and knowledge reaching them all. For this, they need water and knowledge.
Health systems in rural African regions suffer water, sanitation, and hygiene shortcomings. In the Senegalese Sahel, we collaborate in a project to help healthcare centers where Covid-19 has been added to diseases caused by poor water, chronic malnutrition, and the lack of medical assistance. As in the rest of the world, if we attain SDG 6, we will achieve SDG 3: guaranteeing healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages.
A new aid project brings us closer to the plight of Honduran farmers who, more than a year after being hit by hurricanes, have still not been able to recover from the destruction of their crops and their precarious water supply and sanitation facilities. At the epicenter of Central American migration, Honduras faces a future compromised by political instability, violence, and the climate crisis.
On World Toilet Day, the UN calls for valuing this simple facility that is critical to attaining SDG 6 and enabling millions of people to move towards the eradication of poverty, the achievement of health, gender equality and dignity. The sanitation investment gap continues to divide rich and poor. If we do not close it, SDG 6 will remain a long way off.
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