Defecation and the MDGs

On November 21, 2008, in millennium development goals, sanitation, by Karen Grepin

Yesterday was World Toilet Day. Had I known I probably would have decorated up ours at home or something to celebrate, oh crap, I will now have to wait until next year to celebrate.

This is not actually my first posting on potty related policies. The lack of access to proper sanitation facilities remains an important challenge in many developing countries and therefore probably deserves a bit more attention. A recent article from the IDS has given me the opportunity to talk about these issues once again:

Almost 6,000 people, mainly children under five, die every day because of poor sanitation, hygiene and lack of access to clean water, making sanitation one of the most important challenges for developing countries.

The article describes a program being run by IDS to involve the community to make the interventions more effective. They describe their approach as a “revolutionary approach to sanitation”. Basically:

Community members make coloured maps on the ground that show where they live and where they shit. They walk and stand in the area where they do it. They calculate the amount generated in a day, a month and a year by a household and by the whole community. They analyse the pathways between the shit and their mouths. There is embarrassed laughter and powerful emotions of shame and disgust, as they realise that they are literally eating one another’s shit.

Nice, but I can see how this approach would be effective.

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