"I am happy that we now have clean and safe latrines that also provide us with the privacy we need as they have doors with locks," says Edasi from Malawi. Photo by Janet Mbwadzulu, World Vision
Did you know that November 19th is World Toilet Day? It might seem strange to have a day dedicated to dunnies if you’ve grown up with a comfortable commode in your house. But lots of people around the world don’t have access to the same fine facilities – and it comes at a great cost to their health and quality of life.
To mark this important day, here are our Top Ten Toilet Trivia – so you can learn a little something on the loo.
1. The film “Psycho” was the first movie to show a toilet flushing – the scene caused an inpouring of complaints about indecency
2. The average person spends three whole years of their life sitting on the toilet.
3. 2.4 billion people – one in three worldwide – don’t have access to improved sanitation. 14 per cent of the worlds population have no access to any form of toilet at all.
4. 7 out of 10 people without improved sanitation live in rural areas.
5. The first toilet cubicle in a row is the least used (and consequently cleanest)
6. Ancient Egyptians called their toilets ‘House of the Morning’
7. Lack of suitable toilets and sanitation kills approximately 1.8 million people a year, many of them children.
8. Access to safe water and adequate sanitation services has proven to be one of the most efficient ways of improving human health. The World Health Organization has estimated that every $1 invested in improved water supply and sanitation yields gains of $4 to $12, depending on the type of intervention.
9. The slang term ‘Dunny’ is based on an old English word, Dunnaken. Dunna/danna means poo, and ken means house.
10. Improved water, sanitation and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9.1% of the global disease burden and 6.3% of all deaths.
World Vision works with communities around the world to improve their access to water, sanitation and hygiene. We also partner with schools and community groups to provide education on the importance of practices like handwashing that can prevent the spread of disease.
So here are three bits of toilet trivia I think are the most exciting:
1. A clean, safe toilet can reduce the spread of disease, meaning children can spend more time in school and parents can be more productive at work
2. Access to toilets near home can help to keep girls safe from harassment and abuse they might encounter when travelling out to fields or bushland to do their business
3. Toilet facilities in schools mean students won’t have to travel home if they feel the call of nature, and girls who have hit puberty won’t be too embarrassed to come to school when menstruating
This World Toilet Day, show your appreciation for something that is convenient for us, and life-changing for communities around the world – help World Vision improve community access to quality sanitation.