World Toilet Day 2015

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UN-Habitat, with MHM Working group, to organize advocacy walks and symposium under the global Urgent Run Campaign on World Toilet Day 2015

1 in 3 people on this planet still do not have access to a clean and safe toilet and 1 billion people today are still practicing open defecation, fostering the spread of diseases and causing under-nutrition, stunting, stress, and death. #WeCantWait while the lack of access to sanitation affects health, education, gender equality, nutrition, the environment, and the economy!

 “Better sanitation for better nutrition” is the theme for this year’s World Toilet Day to be celebrated on the 19th of November 2015. The theme draws attention to the need for better sanitation to improve health and nutrition for everyone, everywhere, especially for women and children. While having a toilet is important for everyone, access to safe, clean toilets brings particular benefits to women and girls. Women and girls do not need toilet facilities just for defecation; they also need privacy and dignity when menstruating. Menstruation, pregnancy, and the post-natal period become more problematic if women have nowhere to adequately take care of themselves. Women are particularly vulnerable to infections and diseases resulting from bad sanitation during their menstrual cycle and pregnancy, impacting their nutrition levels which directly impacts nutrition status of new-borns and children. Moreover, lack of sanitation facilities is also taking a toll on female education, as many are unable to attend school either during their menstrual cycle or once they reach the menarche they are pressured to quit school. Females are also burdened with collecting drinking water in rural areas, resulting in loss of other activities, including education. They have to undertake water collection even during menstruation, resulting in health problems. It is our duty to protect vulnerable women from issues related to access to education, gender-based violence, inequality, and inadequate health facilities. Women participation is critical for the well-being of the household and the economy. Hence, sanitation for women has always remained a critical focus in the discussions on World Toilet Day.

The “#WeCantWait” and “#UrgentRun” concept aims to inspire action and underscore the urgency needed to end open defecation and provide adequate sanitation facilities, especially for women. The MHM Working Group will sign TORs for its smooth operations and define yearly plans and forecasts to prioritize MHM issues in the country. The MHM Symposium will provide a platform to experts from media, academia, government, health sector, corporate sector, civil society, and UN agencies to advocate for better sanitation for women, especially during menstruation, and its relevance to nutrition and other health objectives to mainstream the need for proper action.

Internationally, one of the main global campaigns endorsed every year by UN Water for World Toilet Day is “The Urgent Run” which was initiated with the exclusive hashtag of #UrgentRun. It is a global mobilisation event to draw attention towards the urgent call for action to end the sanitation crisis, bringing together communities around the world for a run towards sanitation in the lead-up to UN World Toilet Day.

UN-Habitat Pakistan is hosting Urgent Run advocacy “Walks” in NUST Islamabad and NED Karachi on 17 and 19 November 2015, respectively, which will create hype for the “MHM Symposium” organised by the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) Group Pakistan to encourage media, academia, government, health sector, corporate sectors, civil society, and UN agencies’ personnel to take up the issue and make commitments on 1st December 2015. The main objective of the Urgent Run Campaign is to attract the attention of both public and private sector decision makers on the urgency of ensuring adequate sanitation in Pakistan for women.

Experts from media, academia, government, health sector, and UN agencies will address the following topics in the MHM Symposium:

  1. Link between sanitation and nutrition
  2. Psychological effects of inadequate sanitation and lack of nutrition on menstruating women
  3. Proper toilets – Critical for Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM)
  4. Bad sanitation taking its toll on female education
  5. Mobilizing awareness – how to raise the voice for improved sanitation?
  6. Every dollar invested in sanitation brings four-fold returns

#WeCantWait while improper sanitation and toilets affect the lives of 2.5 billion people around the world. Providing adequate access to sanitation is our duty and through traditional and social media coverage of the walk and symposium, which will be linked with the international World Toilet Day 2015 Campaign, we can advocate the issue via high-profile experts in Pakistan to garner not only national but international attention for improved sanitation.

The MHM Symposium will be followed by a meeting of the MHM Working Group, wherein they will draft the yearly plan, forecast activities, and set up TORs for the MHM Working Group. Thereby ensuring that MHM remains a top priority and every opportunity is timely tapped.

IT’S URGENT BECAUSE…

1 in 3 people in the world don’t have a clean, safe toilet

There are 1 billion people today still practicing open defecation, fostering the spread of diseases and causing under-nutrition, stunting and death…

Our vision is to see a world where everyone, everywhere, especially women, have access to a clean, safe toilet and proper sanitation.

Help us make this a reality by joining!

UN Habitat Pakistan