When you think WTO, the first thing that usually comes to mind is World Trade Organization. There is another organization though that shares the same acronym and that is the World Toilet Organization (WTO). Could this have been founded by a group of toilet fanatics? Not quite. In fact, their intentions are honorable and worth supporting. Founded in 2001, this global nonprofit organization aims to improve sanitation as well as toilet conditions around the world.
When it comes to sanitation, water trumps toilets in terms of funds and attention for global development. The latter, however–despite being often overlooked–is an equally important issue. More so, when you consider the sanitation crisis that is currently affecting billions of citizens around the globe.
WTO’s sheds light on this crucial issue using a balanced mix of humour and serious facts, their unique approach resonating with everyone worldwide. Their approach includes designating November 19–their founding day–as World Toilet Day not only to celebrate how important toilets are in peoples’ lives but also to shine light on a very important issue.
“Lack of clean and safe toilets at schools leads to higher dropout among girls once they reach puberty. Diarrhoeal diseases – a direct consequence of poor sanitation – kill more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.”
“World Toilet Day serves as a reminder of the struggles faced by billions of people who still lack access to improved sanitation,” states worldtoilet.org.
Sanitation is not a privilege for the few but a basic human right. Even if there are adequate toilets in a particular area, there is also the issue of poor maintenance and questionable hygienic standards. There is a need to educate people on the importance of a well-kept toilet and its proper usage. Improved sanitation will not only inspire good toilet etiquette but also help in the prevention of deadly diseases.
On the 24th of July 2013, World Toilet Day finally became an official UN day. As we celebrate World Toilet Day 2014, WTO continues to advocate for more effective sanitation policies in order to ensure that the health, dignity and well-being of people everywhere will be cared for.