#WorldToiletDay: School Pupils in Berlin Demand Safe Sanitation for Everyone Worldwide

the toilet exhibition tent in Berlin (©Wöhlert)

Dressed in suits, Berlin school students publicly demonstrated on the occasion of World Toilet Day 2019. They invited passers-by to a “toilet exhibition tent” at Potsdamer Platz in the heart of Germany’s capital. Inside the tent, a self-built, “inadequate” toilet demonstrated the poor sanitary conditions, which are reality in many parts of the world. Bottles of dirty water were handed out and a toilet-cake was on offer. The message: Toilets can save lives!

The students are highlighting the fact that the global community can only achieve their self-imposed development goals, if they show solidarity with those, who are most affected by the sanitation crisis: the elderly, sick, refugees, children, otherwise marginalised groups and all those affected by disasters who are most affected by the world’s sanitation crisis.

Toilets are an elementary part of human dignity and since 2010 also a human right. It is a scandal that many politicians do not know this and that the states do not act sufficiently, a spokesman for the students explained. The states would only achieve their self-imposed United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in the area of sanitation if politics finally got the taboo subject out of the dirty corner. Goal 6 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals calls for safe toilets, clean drinking water and access to hygiene for all people by 2030.

“If governments and even donor countries like Germany do not start to focus their efforts on those people who are most difficult to reach, we will crash and miss this target,” explains Johannes Rück, spokesman for the German Toilet Organization (GTO). There are still 673 million people without toilets, including the poor, the elderly and the sick, residents of slums, refugees, indigenous people and those affected by disasters. World Bank figures prove that the aid is not reaching these people today: only 6% of the subsidies that flow into water and sanitation in developing countries benefit the poorest 20% of the population.

“Where would you hide?” ©Wöhlert

According to the WHO, access to water, sanitation and hygiene can save the lives of 297,000 children under the age of 5 every year. Washing hands also reduces the risk of diarrhoea by 30 percent. Although the proportion of people with access to safely managed sanitation has risen from 28 to 45 percent in the last 10 years, 673 million people are still defecating in the open – an inhumane situation with serious consequences for public health and the environment. WHO studies further show that increasing investment in access to improved toilets results in low health costs, higher productivity and fewer premature deaths.

The event was part of the development education project “Toiletised World” of the GTO. Within the project, GTO organises one-day workshops at schools and jointly plans events to raise public awareness for development-policy issues with the school children.

IncLOOsion: Students in Berlin demanded the inclusion of 4.5 billion people who have no access to safely managed sanitation

The following is a guest blog post by the German Toilet Organization of which this blog is a supporting member:

Berlin, 29 Nov 2017 – 11th grade students of Berlin’s Kaethe-Kollwitz-School surprised tourists at the city’s Brandenburg Gate with a flashmob and an ensuing “reverse-demonstration” on the occasion of the World Day of People with Disabilities. One student began proclaiming “Toilets save lives” in sign language – over and over again. With each repetition he was joined by more peers. And even passers-by joined in. Afterwards the group orbited Pariser Platz with a reverse demo, walking backwards to draw attention to the fact that not enough progress is being made concerning the issue of inclusive sanitation.

InKLOsion (IncLOOsion): Berlin students in front of the Brandenburger Tor demanded the inclusion of 4.5 billion people who have no access to safely managed sanitation. (src)

Continue reading “IncLOOsion: Students in Berlin demanded the inclusion of 4.5 billion people who have no access to safely managed sanitation”

World Food Day in Berlin

Pupils from Berlin celebrated World Food Day, connecting nutrition with sanitation, water and hygiene.
Pupils from Berlin celebrated World Food Day, connecting nutrition with sanitation, water and hygiene.

Together with pupils from Berlin, the German Toilet Organization celebrated World Food Day at the symbolic Worldtime Clock at Alexanderplatz, connecting nutrition with sanitation, water and hygiene. The pupils exhibited their crafts to the public, showing the serious influence of missing toilets on global hunger. 795 million people in the world are still suffering from hunger. One third of the world’s population does not have access to basic sanitation and good hygiene. Children under 5 years of age in particular suffer from chronic and life-threatening diarrheal diseases, which lead to deficiency of nutrition and permanent impairment of the mental and physical development. The World Health Organization estimates that 50% of all malnutrition goes to the account of poor sanitation, unclean water and poor hygiene. Thus, access to good toilets can make a significant contribution to eliminating hunger and malnutrition worldwide.

(guest post by German Toilet Org)

International World Refugee Day 2015

On the occasion of the International World Refugee Day 2015, 150 Berlin students demonstrated against the inhumane sanitary situation in wars and crisis regions.

Students in Berlin who demonstrated against the inhumane sanitary situation in wars and crisis regions.
Students in Berlin who demonstrated against the inhumane sanitary situation in wars and crisis regions.

The students raised awareness of the situation of refugees with posters and slogans! Some students were selected as “toilet-woman” and “toilet-man” and guided the demonstration as toilet-super-heros!

After a press conference and the demonstration, Frank Heinrich, member of the German parliament, acknlowledged the commitment and effort of the students.

[via]

Every bum has the right to a loo

Every bum has the right to a loo
“Every bum has the right to a loo” – pupils from Berlin and Potsdam demonstrated for the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on December 10th, 2014.

Although the United Nations have officially announced the Human Right to Water and Sanitation in 2010, still 2,5 billion people worldwide do not have access to adequate Sanitation facilities (WHO/UNICEF). Regarding the Human Rights Day on the 10th of December, pupils from Berlin and Potsdam demonstrated together with the German Toilet Organization and called for worldwide solidarity, as everybody has the right to a toilet, no matter where from, or any cultural background.

After a press conference at the German Institute of Human Rights, the pupils marched through the streets of Berlin, passing checkpoint Charlie, to the Brandenburg Gate.

[via GTO]