A clean toilet is a basic human right, not a privilege – yet more than two billion people don’t have access to one. This is a figure we’re determined to change and it’s why we’ll be raising awareness via World Toilet Day on 19 November.
World Toilet Day is a way of celebrating increases in people’s access to cleaner, safer toilets, and a reminder of the big goal – to one day put an end to open defecation. Sanitation is seen by some as the world’s most important medical intervention, so it’s no surprise World Toilet Day is an official UN day. Here’s four vital reasons why you should put World Toilet Day in your diary:
Toilets save lives
The world is currently suffering from a global sanitation crisis. Shockingly, 2.3 billion people still don’t have access to a basic toilet or latrine. That’s around a third of the world’s population. Close to a billion people are forced to defecate in the open, leading to the rapid spread of life-threatening disease and illness.
Every two minutes, a child dies from an illness linked to poor sanitation and unsafe water. Access to a clean, safe toilets helps prevent children and adults from falling victim to potentially fatal illness spread through poor sanitation and unsafe water.
Sanitation helps kids stay in school
Every year, 272 million school days are lost because children lack access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. The lack of a sanitary toilet in school means children are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases, along with experiencing feelings of shame when they have to use filthy toilets or defecate publicly.
Many students miss school days because of illness, or to avoid the embarrassment of publicly going to the toilet – especially girls with their period. Helping schools around the world get clean toilets and ensuring they stay clean over the long term is why we created our Cleaner Toilets, Brighter Futures programme.
Clean toilets empower girls and women, improving menstrual hygiene management
Young women are disproportionately affected by a lack of clean, private toilets and non-existent facilities to help them manage their menstrual hygiene. Female students are at higher risk of contracting diseases from unclean toilets, and they are the ones who benefit the most from the provision of effective school sanitation facilities.
In many parts of the world, menstruation is seen as taboo. Female students commonly feel too uncomfortable to attend school during their period, which means they miss a quarter of their education. In India, female students have a 20% dropout rate. In addition, menstrual hygiene for many young females is negatively affected due to girls being unable to afford sanitary products – half of all school girls in Kenya, for example.
Combined with improved menstrual hygiene education and access to low-cost, sustainable sanitary products, the introduction of private, sanitary toilets can help change this situation, ensuring young women around the world get the education they deserve.
Together We Are Unstoppable
Approximately one third of the world’s population faces the threat of life-threatening diseases every day due to lack of a toilet. Domestos has partnered with UNICEF globally to join the fight for everyone’s right to a toilet. We’ve already helped 10 million people get access to a toilet. We’re on track to help 10 million more.
Remember, a clean toilet is a right, not a privilege, and saves lives – this is why you should join us on World Toilet Day. Raising awareness will help us in the fight against poor sanitation. You can do this by celebrating the wonderful work organisations around the world are doing to help solve the sanitation crisis, and by spreading the word to ultimately help more people gain access to a clean, safe toilet.
*Income from sales of Domestos products in South Africa will not be directed towards the project with UNICEF.
 World Toilet Day, United Nations