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Story by Ranjita Biswas

KOLKATA, Apr 19 2014 (IPS) - In large parts of rural India, the absence of separate toilets for growing girls is taking a toll on their education. Many are unable to attend school during their menstrual cycle.

According to the country’s Annual Status of Education Report in 2011, lack of access to toilets causes girls between 12 and...

Shaheena Attarwala, is a 28-year-old professional user interface designer and law student living in Bandra, Mumbai, near a slum in India. While growing up, Shaheena had many friends living within the slum and without access to a toilet in the home. To relieve themselves, her peers either used the local public toilet or squatted outside in the...

The #ArshCampaign is still going strong in Mumbai, India. This poster was developed by a friend of Arsh's - Bhavin Jethva. Please fee free to download for use! 

Learn more about the #ArshCampaign

November 19, 2014 - Article orginially posted to the UN News Center. Access the full article here

"For every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is a $4.3 return in the form of reduced health care costs for individuals and society around the world, where 2.5 billion people still lack access to basic sanitation services, with 1 billion...

As part of the Big Squat today on the 19th November, Make-U-Believe decided to contribute to raising awareness with a little paint to create the piece ‘Bog standard day’.

Impressive body art! Check out more photos here.

“We can’t wait to end open defecation and its specific challenges for women and girls. Open defecation impacts on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and exposes women and girls to sexual violence. We can’t wait while hundreds of millions of women and girls face these challenges daily.” - Karen Tan, Ambassador, Singapore Permanent Mission to the UN

Comedian Bec Hill was crowned the winner of WaterAid's hunt for the United Kingdom’s favourite toilet joke today on World Toilet Day (Wednesday 19th November)!

The winning toilet joke is:

“For Christmas last year I got given Sudoku toilet paper. It’s useless. You can only fill it in with number ones and number twos.”

You can...

Global efforts to provide improved water and sanitation  for all are gaining momentum, but serious gaps in funding continue to hamper progress, according to a new report from the World Health Organization on behalf of UN-Water.  

The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS 2014), published biannually, presents data from 94 countries and 23 external support agencies....

Arsh Mogre, a 15-year-old student from Mumbai, India has long been interested in political affairs. With India’s new Prime Minister Narenda Modi launching the “Clean India Campaign” Arsh is determined to see citizens take action towards improving sanitation. Arsh believes that “in order to have successful government, citizens need to support social activities, and establish trust with their leaders.”...

November 13, 2014 article originally posted to the UN News Center. Access the FULL article here.

The top United Nations coordinator for cholera response in Haiti, Pedro Medrano Rojas, considers support for initiatives to combat the disease has been “disappointing” so far, noting that while it may be possible to eliminate cholera in about a decade, at the current rate...

A public ceremony was organized by the WSSCC member WASH activists in Somalia Somaliland, which was supported by local government Hargeisa Moyar Abdirahman Mohamoud Aided Soltelco and conducted at the IDP Hargeisa Mohamed Moge Digale. The event objective was to raise awarness on the importance of the proper use of the toilets / latrines in the prevention of faecal-oral diseases...

The toilet – a small but fundamental part of every-day life, wherever you live in the world. Seldom do we pause and think how much we rely on having access to a decent toilet – how it enables us to go to school, work, rest and play; how it preserves our dignity and privacy; and offers us a quiet space...

World Toilet Day infographics are now available for download and use! 

Want to know more about equality, dignity and toilets? Download UN-Water's infographics now! 

Alto Social Analytics have been working with UN Water to prepare for World Toilet Day’s social media outreach.

It has been established that issues of sanitation are already prominent in digital media, with over 256,000 comments related to sanitation being made in the past 30 days by 158,000 authors across 116 countries. 

So, how can we raise even more...

One in three women around the world are victims of violence at least once in their lifetime.

The connections between toilets and violence against women may not initially be obvious. 

Consider a woman without access to a toilet in her home. When travelling to and from public toilets, using the toilet, or venturing from her home to defecate openly, she is vulnerable...

One billion people around the world do not have access to a toilet, and are forced to go out in the open. 

Having to defecate openly infringes on human safety and dignity. This holds particularly true for women and girls, who loose privacy and face shame having to defecate in public, or – after painfully holding their bladder and bowels all...

With access to a toilet, women no longer have to defecate in the open where they feel ashamed, and vulnerable to predators when having to expose themselves publicly. In addition to access, there are numerous considerations for limiting the risk of violence associated with toilets.

For example, it is important to consider the distance in which women have to travel to...

Developing the World Toilet Day logo was a real challenge.

How do you visually communicate something that is essential for privacy, dignity, equality, development and health but that looks different from one culture to another? We asked around, banged our heads against the wall until one day one of us remembered a cover from the magazine 'The Economist'. The...

Do you feel strongly about protecting human rights, health, safety, and dignity? If yes, campaigning for access to safe toilets for all is for you! Anyone can get involved! Just follow these simple steps for a successful campaign. 

Step 1: Collect information and document the problem 

In order to generate wider interest in your campaign you will need compelling...

Address to attendees of a WaterAid and Unilever joint event in the European Parliament on World Toilet Day 2014.

On the Menstrual Hygiene Taboo and its effects on girls health and education.

Journalist Rose George about a once-unmentionable problem.

This video is about the devastating impact of India's sanitation crisis on women.

A participatory approach to raising awareness on water and sanitation in South Africa. 

WaterAid presents the adventures of Super Toilet!

Water.org shares what a toilet means for Jayamma and her family.

Alto Social Analytics calls for social media response on World Toilet Day. 

WaterAid: 1 in 3 women worldwide risk shame, disease, harassment and even attack because they...

The United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson has initiated, on behalf of UN Secretary General...

World Bank: Take On Sanitation: How much is a toilet worth? See how villagers in...

UNICEF India: Presenting the First Poo Song in the history of India! 

Alto Social Analytics partner with UN Water

Animated Urbanism series from cities@manchester.

Meet Archana, a nurse in Rajasthan, India to hear what happened when a toilet was...

Water.org: Matt Damon goes on toilet strike on World Toilet Day

World Bank Group: Overview of the sanitation business model in Indonesia illustrates a one-stop shop...

UNTV: UN in Action and WSSCC on open defecation in Nepal 

The Global Water and Sanitation Crisis

The Guardian: More people have access to mobile phones than to bog-standard sanitation around the...

Singapore: More than one-third of the world's population or 2.5 billion people still do not...

World Toilet Organization: Meet the founder

UN: Sesame Workshop's Muppet Friend Raya Encourages Proper Hygiene

WaterAid: Louie the Loo sings 'Thank you Toilet'

Say thank you to your toilet

This world toilet day, 19 November!

For the Union des Amis Socio Culturels d’Action en Développement (UNASCAD) World Toilet Day 2014 presented an opportunity to call for action.


A joint call to action from the private sector, NGOs and MEPs for the EU to back a dedicated SDG aiming to enable universal access to basic WASH by 2030.


Report for the Toilet Board Coalition, sponosred by Unilever on building demand for toilets.

New sanitation media guide from The Wolrd Bank. 

The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson's campaign to break silence on open defecation and spur dialogue and action on the most lacking target of the MDGs.

Release of new findings from WHO/UN-Water on 19 November: UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS)

A Report on Sanitation and Hygiene for Women and Girls by WaterAid, Unilever and WSSCC

It's no joke comedy festival by WaterAid

Play UNICEF's game for safe, clean toilets

A photo exhibition by Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor documenting women and girls in 20 countries to learn about their toilets. 

A report by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in collaboration with Domestos

Mapping Sanitation Solutions: an audit of existing sanitation solutions


Global runs for sanitation organized by the World Toilet Organization

Report on understanding technologies and future sanitatation models to accelerate the goal of sanitation for all. 

What is World Toilet Day?

World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet - despite the human right to water and sanitation. 

It is a day to do something about it. 

Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy. 

We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. This day had previously been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world but was not formally recognized as an official UN day until 2013. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders. 

Equality and dignity

Equality and dignity is the theme of World Toilet Day 2014. The campaign will inspire action to end open defecation and put spotlight on how access to improved sanitation leads to a reduction in assault and violence on women and girls. More about this here. 

Having to defecate openly infringes on human safety and dignity. Women and girls risk rape and abuse as they wait until night falls because they lack of access to a toilet that offers privacy.

Where toilets do exist, additional inequalities present in usability. Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.

Without accessible toilets for these populations, they remain excluded from opportunities to attend school and gain employment. 

Our Partners

UN Water
Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council
Human Rights to Water & Sanitation
UN Women
UN Habitat
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Singapore
United Nations University
The Economist
Walk This Way

Contact us for more

Contact: unwater@un.org

For media requests,
please contact daniella.bostrom@unwater.org



Graphic identity and web design: Walk this Way

Web development: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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