John Kluge, Co-Founder of Toilet Hackers
Sometimes the things that bring the greatest benefits to our lives are also the most underappreciated. Example: toilets. Can you imagine your life without one? That’s the reality for almost 40 percent of the world. At least 2.5 billion people don’t have access to toilets that protect them and their community from contact with human waste. November 19, World Toilet Day, is a day to appreciate what we have and take steps to bring those benefits to everyone.
Women and children bear the heaviest burden of poor sanitation. Right now, 4,000 kids die from dysentery and diarrhea every day. Millions of girls without a safe, private place to take care of their menstrual needs drop out of school after they reach puberty.
For the past few weeks, Toilet Hackers has been promoting the international “Celebrate the Toilet” campaign headed up by Wash United. Today, we’re joining Toby Storie-Pugh as he walks the length of Manhattan, visiting public toilets and raising awareness about global sanitation.
In March, Toby and his Kenyan climbing partner, Steve Obbayi, will carry a Toilet Hackers banner to the summit of Everest. With every step, they’ll be bringing better sanitation to Kibera, Kenya, one of Africa’s largest informal settlements. We’re working with local partner Power of Hope to help Kiberans, mostly women, set up microbusinesses selling soap and providing portable hand-washing stations. That one simple intervention will improve the lives of nearly 20,000 Kiberans — roughly two people for every meter Toby and Steve climb.
Safe toilets, clean water, soap for hand-washing — such basic things. But they have the power to change the world. That’s why I’m so passionate about my work. It doesn’t take much to help give every person a chance to live a full, healthy and dignified life, with equal access to education and to enterprise. I want every woman to live and thrive, to have the chance to improve the lives of those around them. And I want every girl to be able to use toilets as safe, clean, and private as the one my nieces and goddaughter are now learning how to use.
Take Action Challenge
Honor thy throne—take a photo of your toilet and post a message to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CelebrateTheToilet. You may win a year’s supply of Looloo Paper!
Learn more about Toby and Steve’s epic quest to make sanitation the highest priority in the world!
*John Kluge is Co-Founder and Chief Disruption Officer of Toilet Hackers, a nonprofit organization bringing improved sanitation and hygiene to the 2.5 billion people without a toilet in developing nations.