An Unexpected Question About Toilets: Day 1 in India With Mandy Moore

By Mandy Moore, PSI Ambassador

This morning for breakfast, I joined the PSI India team with their partners and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to learn that they are building toilets and developing a sanitation system in Bihar by turning the traditional nonprofit model on its head. PSI India has developed a social enterprise and is treating the open defecation problem like a business problem.

The idea is to make toilets convenient, affordable and attractive in a state where 80% of the population currently lives without them.

When communities lack basic sanitation, kids die (more than 450,000 did in India last year due to diarrheal disease), people get sick, and girls and women are at greater risk of rape and violence when they’re simply trying to find a private place outdoors to relieve themselves.

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Photos: Why World Toilet Day Matters

The first time I saw open defecation was in a slum in Delhi. I was taken aback. I had always heard about open defecation, but until that point I had never seen it and couldn’t imagine it happening in an overly crowded urban area. It was also at that moment that I knew I had to learn as much as possible about the ways in which people use the bathroom, if they have one at all.

2.5 billion people lack improved sanitation and 1 billion people do not have access to a bathroom and must resort to the undignified practice of open defecation. There are 7 billion people on the planet.

Women who must defecate in the open and who also have to use the community toilets are at increased risk of violence and rape.

When I visit communities and families in low-income countries I always look for toilets and latrines to see the conditions in which people relieve themselves. Below are some photos of toilets I took in India, Ethiopia, Philippines, and South Africa.

Learn more about World Toilet Day at www.unwater.org/worldtoiletday.

Latrine - South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa

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Sanitation Wisdom from a Zambian Chief #ZambiaHealth

As you may know I am in Zambia with the International Reporting Project as a New Media fellow. Ten of us are here in the country to report on HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other rarely covered stories in the region. Yesterday we visited Macha, a small Southern province town 60 miles from the nearest city, Choma. Macha is the home of the Malaria Institute at … Continue reading Sanitation Wisdom from a Zambian Chief #ZambiaHealth

2.4 Billion Still Lack Sanitation

By 2015 2.4 billion people will still lack access to proper sanitation – that’s one-third of the world’s population. In a new joint report by the WHO and UNICEF, Progress on sanitation and drinking-water 2013 update, we learn that MDG 7.C will not be met and in fact will be missed by 8%. There has been an improvement in sanitation coverage since 1990, however. Two-thirds of the … Continue reading 2.4 Billion Still Lack Sanitation

Our Newest Partner: WaterAid

Access to clean water and proper sanitation is a important issue for us at Mom Bloggers for Social Good. That is why we are thrilled and honored to partner with WaterAid, an international NGO that uses affordable and locally appropriate solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to people in developing countries. We look forward to working with WaterAid this year to spread … Continue reading Our Newest Partner: WaterAid

Why Access to Sanitation is Key to Health, Development

When I was in Kenya this past July on the ONE Moms trip, I had quite a rude awakening when we traveled to rural areas -– a lack of toilets. There were not very many places for us to use the bathroom, unless we wanted to go in the bush or use one of the local latrines. On the first day in Kisumu, in the … Continue reading Why Access to Sanitation is Key to Health, Development