DFAT marks World Toilet Day 2019

19 November 2019

Three girls in school uniform standing outside a toilet in their local school.
School toilets in Wewak. Photo credit: WaterAid/Tom Greenwood

A toilet is not just a toilet. It’s a life-saver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker. Sadly, life without a toilet is a daily challenge for almost 700 million people who defecate in the open. A staggering 4.2 billion people do not have access to safely managed sanitation. It is no wonder then that the world is off track to meet SDG6 – Sanitation and Water for All.

This year, the theme for #WorldToiletDay is ‘Leaving No One Behind’. Poor and marginalised people are much more likely to lack safely managed sanitation services. They are the people who often suffer the worst health consequences of inadequate sanitation.

Through the @waterforwomenfund, our partners are working in 15 countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In Papua New Guinea, WaterAid Australia is delivering inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) solutions in Wewak, East Sepik Province. In Jemima’s school, girls and boys used to share a wooden hut with a thin partition as a makeshift toilet. It was “dirty, unhealthy and smelly” but now, Jemima says girls “feel much more comfortable and safer” using the new toilets.

Photo of a person holding a brick.
Affordable toilets in Cambodia. Photo credit: iDE Cambodia

In Cambodia, another Water for Women partner, iDE, supports entrepreneurs to provide affordable toilets to local communities. Ms Hat Tin’s business has grown significantly since starting to work with iDE Cambodia’s sanitation marketing program. “Next we will go to Oddar Meanchey” she says about her plans to expand to a neighbouring province of her home in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Water for Women is Australia’s flagship WASH program, investing $110.6 million over 5 years to improve access to safe and affordable WASH services. Through its emphasis on gender equality and social inclusion, this program plays an important role to ensure that we #LeaveNoOneBehind. We mark World Toilet Day 2019 knowing that there is still much to do but also celebrating the successes that we are achieving each day through projects that build on our strong experience in the WASH sector.

Last Updated: 18 November 2019