The toilet as a symbol of health and dignity—World Toilet Day 2023

Published: Nov 16, 2023 Reading time: 2 minutes
Certification in Belo Horizonte village, Cunhinga municipality
© Foto: Edson Malongo

World Toilet Day, celebrated annually on 19 November, commemorates the critical importance of sanitation and access to adequate toilet facilities. While it may seem simple, everyday convenience, the lack of toilets seriously threatens human health, dignity, and sustainable development.

3.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe toilets. Their health is often damaged, and they also pollute the environment. According to the UN, one thousand children die every day from acute diarrhoea linked to poor hygiene and consumption of contaminated water. These diseases also cause malnutrition, which also threatens the proper development of children.

  • At least 2 billion people worldwide use drinking water sources contaminated with faeces. (WHO/UNICEF 2019
  • Nearly half of the world's schools do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water (WHO/UNICEF 2020
"Latrines are important to us. We used to have many diseases," says Graca from Bie, Angola.

Around the world, millions of people face the harsh reality of life without access to clean and safe toilets. Today, 3.5 billion people live without safe toilets, and 419 million are forced to go outdoors. It is, thus, that diseases that kill 1,000 children every day are spread. This global crisis threatens nature and the health of all people, especially women, girls and other vulnerable people.

Health and dignity begin with the construction of new latrines

Last year, we built 3,500 latrines in Angola, giving 30,000 people access to safe toilets. This also includes training children in good nutrition and good hygiene habits. These efforts have a positive effect on the health of entire villages. We will continue our efforts; this year, we will build 800 latrines.

"We teach the local population about good hygiene habits and how to deal with various diseases," says Aneta Jelínková, Project Manager of People in Need.

Rapid provision of clean and safe toilets in crises is critical to keeping people healthy

Inadequate toilet facilities directly impact public health, leading to the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera, infectious diarrhoea and typhoid. Women and girls, in particular, face increased vulnerability due to a lack of privacy, which puts them at risk of violence and harassment.

In earthquake-affected Turkey, our distribution of mobile toilets has been key to preventing diseases related to personal hygiene. We distributed hygiene kits, thus preventing disease spread and allowing people to maintain their personal hygiene.


Give a gift of privacy and protecting

Did you know that many people worldwide have no toilet and are forced to relieve themselves outside? Buy a Real Toilet, and you'll help people radically improve their sanitation situation and save the lives of children!


Autor: Veronika Gabrielová, People in Need

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