World Toilet Day 2016: toilets and jobs

World Toilet Day 2016: toilets and jobs


This year’s theme for World Toilet Day focuses on how sanitation, or the lack of it, can impact on livelihoods. Toilets play a crucial role in creating a strong economy, as well as improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity, particularly women’s and girls’.

“The working toilets”, highlighting the 2016 World Toilet Day theme on toilets and jobs

World Toilet Day, on 19 November, is about taking action to reach the 2.4 billion people living without a toilet. This year, the theme of ‘toilets and jobs’ focuses on how sanitation, or the lack of it, can impact on livelihoods. Workplaces represent a major focus in the life of workers and employers. Having access to WASH can contribute greatly to people’s health and productivity, and to making economies grow. Many of the International Labor Organization (ILO) tools to improve work highlight the importance of access to WASH in the workplace.

Providing toilets and other sanitation services creates jobs

Treating sanitation provision as a long-term business opportunity, as well as a fulfilment of people’s rights, could help speed up progress and attract investment. In the 2014 UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS), less than 20% of participating countries have sufficient capacity to meet rural sanitation needs and even fewer of these countries have plans in place to redress this gap (UN-Water, 2014), which requires investments in education, curriculum development, and enabling environments.

Making it easy for people to set up sanitation businesses, as part of a bigger plan, will help entrepreneurs to flourish and could accelerate progress. Particularly in the towns and cities of low income countries, populations are growing fast and their need for toilets and waste removal is already desperate. Small-scale service providers could play a vital role in getting toilets to people quickly and beginning the transformation of slum areas (WaterAid 2016).

Sanitation Marketing in the Pacific

The International WaterCentre is involved in a number of projects which focus on achieving sustainable access to improved sanitation and hygiene behaviours. One such project, the Western Pacific Sanitation Marketing and Innovation project, is designed to increase access to non-subsidised improved sanitation for people of all ages, genders and special needs through the establishment of local enterprise groups (locally organised small business or cooperatives). Sustainability is established by self-generated profit, cash flow and micro finance. It is maintained by developing the skills and knowledge of good appropriate sanitation options and construction techniques inside target communities with a high sense of ownership.

Read more about the project here and follow project updates from the Live & Learn Sanitation Marketing blog The Business.

Resources for World Toilet Day

Download posters, fact sheets and help spread the word through social media with the UN-Water World Toilet Day resources here.

As part of the WASH4Work initiative and UN-Water’s contribution to World Toilet Day, the ILO will present self-training modules on occupational safety and health that can help governments, workers and employers implement the ILO’s standards and codes of practices on water, sanitation and hygiene.

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