Not having a toilet is one of the world’s greatest challenges to human health. We need to take action urgently if we’re to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Access to sanitation – the opportunity we have
Globally, diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets kills a child under five every two minutes. Enabling families on a low income to gain access to affordable homes with toilets and running water would cut the number of diarrhoeal deaths by a third.
One in ten people have no choice but to defecate in the open which spreads diseases like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis, polio and trachoma. Open defecation creates a vicious cycle of disease and poverty. The African and Asian countries where open defection is most widespread also have the highest levels of malnutrition and poverty.
Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of toilets and sanitation is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP. According to the World Health Organisation, every £1 spent on toilets and sanitation has a return of £5.50 from increased productivity and lower health care costs.
It’s estimated that one in ten girls in Africa miss school during their period from lack of access to toilets and washrooms. Decent housing provides hygienic spaces where girls can manage their period without shame and continue their education.
Decent, affordable homes with toilets mean women and girls don’t have to use outdoor public restrooms. In India, 30% of reported sexual assaults happen when women and girls go outside to use the toilet.
Reall believe providing decent, affordable housing with a water supply and toilets is one of humanities greatest opportunities. That’s why it’s not just a house, it’s a lifesaving, health-improving, GDP boosting, gender empowering, engine of human potential.