In crowded camps it is essential that people have proper sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices in order to prevent diseases. In order to address the needs, NRC is conducting the following activities in Mtendeli refugee camp in Tanzania: • Constructing family latrines • Providing basic hygiene items, such as soap • Conducting hygiene promotions on good hygiene practices • Providing drinking taps and latrines in schools Photo: Ingrid Prestetun/NRC

More people have cell phones than toilets

Eline Anker|Published 18. Nov 2018
Did you know that more people have a mobile phone than a toilet? Marking world toilet day, we give you five reasons why you should care about toilets.

Almost 30 percent of the world do not have access to latrines. The lack of access deprives people of a good health, safety and dignity.

One of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure availability and sustainable management of sanitation and water for all by 2030. Part of this goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet and that no-one practises open defecation.

Photo: - SDG 6.

For people forced to flee, access to clean water and appropriate sanitation facilities are amongst the most urgent of all needs.

This is why you should care about toilets:

1. Bad sanitation facilities kill 280,000 people each year

Without proper sanitation, water supplies can become contaminated and diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid can spread rapidly. On average, almost 1,000 children under five years die each day due to diarrhoeal diseases. Access for all to safe water, sanitation and hygiene would reduce global diseases with 10 per cent, according to the world health organisation.

  • We build proper sanitation facilities and supply safe drinking water
  • Run active disease surveillance and increased vigilance on water quality and sanitation practices during disease outbreaks

Read more: Keeping her family safe from Cholera.

Ahmed is one of many Yemeni children who have received treatment for suspected Cholera. Photo: Nuha Mohammed/NRC

2. All women should be safe

Women and girls are particularly vulnerable when going to the toilet in the open. Many choose to wait until it is dark before they go, making them even more prone to abuse and sexual assaults. In schools, girls need private and functioning toilets to prevent them from dropping out.

  • We build and maintain safe and clean latrines or toilets, so women and girls, men and boys can feel safe.

Read more: How private toilets changed the everyday life of women in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Girls in Sittwe, Myanmar, use latrines during school hours. Photo: Sarla Varma/NRC
Toilet facilities provided by Oxfam in Mwaka, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Alex McBride/NRC

3. Children should have access to clean water and proper toilets in school

One in three schools do not have safe water or adequate sanitation. Without proper sanitation facilities children have to go to the toilet outside in the school grounds, this may cause girls to drop out of school or not come to school when they are menstruating. No child should have to end their education due to lacking toilets in school.

  • We support the right to education by ensuring that safe latrines and clean water at schools are accessible to all students and teachers.
  • We collaborate with teachers to deliver up-to-date hygiene promotion.

In Basra, Iraq, more than 277,000 children face disease outbreak due to unsafe water in schools.

Access to clean water and handwashing has become a luxury in Basra schools in Iraq. The water runs for only two hours a day and is not safe to drink. Photo: Tom Peyre-Costa/NRC

4. Toilets can help create renewable energy

Why not make your poo turn into something useful? Be creative!

  • In the refugee camp Kakuma, in Kenya, the need for latrines are enormous. In collaboration with UNHCR we transform human waste into charcoal briquettes. The briquettes are a low-cost alternative to wood charcoal for cooking.

5. Access to sanitation is a human right  

In 2010, UN declared access to safe water and sanitation a human right. Still 4.5 billion people lack proper sanitation facilities. Access to sanitation and clean water is essential to human dignity.

  • We build toilets, promote safe hygiene and encourage displaced people to take an active role in our operations to improve sanitation facilities.
Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC
In the Maratatu settlement in, the Democratic Republic of Congo there are few latrines, which results in open defecation and water-borne diseases spreading. NRC responds to the dire hygienic needs and have started work to construct 200 communal latrines. Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC