Thirteen civil society organizations, including Woord en Daad, offered a joint manifest on 20 November 2018. One day after World Toilet Day, they sounded the alarm asking for an ambitious plan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to realize sanitation projects as of 2020, including the associated budget.
In the policy paper ‘Investing in Perspective’ Minister Kaag has included the objective that by 2030 50 million more people should have access to sanitary facilities. For 2020, the intermediate goal is to provide sanitation to 12 million people. At the moment we lag far behind on both objectives. If the current line is not broken, they will not be reached. The organizations call for the Dutch parliament to speak to the Minister on the issue.
Currently, the number of people in developing countries who get access to clean and well-functioning toilets and sanitation is growing too slow. In 2016 and 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contributed to having 2.4 million people a year who get access to sanitation. Yet, for 2018 and 2019, the Ministry expects that only 1.6 million people per year is provided with toilets, with the same budget. It seems that the pipeline of sanitation projects is becoming clogged.
Action on World Toilet Day
To draw attention to this life-threatening problem, the organizations bring a golden toilet to the parliament. Those present from the general commission of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation are asked to look together with Minister Kaag – during the ministries’ budget debates next week – at where the obstruction in sanitation projects takes place, and to find ways to resolve them. The organizations offer to share their thoughts on this issue.
People die due to a lack of sanitation
‘This is a very worrying development’, says Ariette Brouwer, director of Simavi, an organization for better health care in developing countries and one of the initiators of the appeal.
‘Worldwide 2.3 billion people lack access to normal sanitation such as a toilet. By the absence of sanitation, drinking water may get seriously polluted, whereby people get ill or even die. As a result of unnecessarily inadequate sanitation facilities almost 1,000 children die each day because of diarrhea. This amounts to 30 full school classes. It is high time that minister Kaag comes up with a viable plan on “how to catch up on realizing sufficient toilets for everyone worldwide”, says Brouwers.
Sanitation: a vital ingredient for a dignified existence and important for women
Good sanitation is indispensable for a dignified existence. It has an enormous impact, especially on the lives of women and girls. For instance, good sanitation facilities at schools help girls to stay in school, also when they are menstruating. This has many positive consequences for girls and young women: they are more economically independent, get children at a later age and get less children. A toilet also ensures that women and girls are safer and do not get harassed if they have to make a sanitary stop outside.