Who cares about toilets? We do!

November 19 is World Toilet Day, and everyone is asking – who cares about toilets?

At IWC, we do!

And we care about them for everyone, including young children, if that’s the best way to ensure safe management of faeces. In rural Solomon Islands, where access to nappies, diapers and potties is limited, we’re working with local CSOs to encourage more parents to move their kids poo to the loo. It’s common practice for children to poo on the ground and for parents to move it out of sight (maybe the mangroves, maybe the stream) – so this behaviour change requires parents to recognise the role of the toilet in keeping their children healthy, safe, and dignified.

We also care beyond the toilet too.

A toilet is a great start – but there are lots of points along the sanitation chain where faecal pathogens can escape into our environment and affect environmental and human health and wellbeing. Several of our Master of Integrated Water Management Students have dedicated their final project studies to this, exploring diverse topics like faecal sludge management in Costa Rica, sanitation and climate change exposure in informal settlements in Vanuatu, and sustainable sanitation in schools in Malawi.

And finally, we care that toilets (and sanitation more broadly) are both impacted by and can impact climate change drivers now and into the future.

We’ve got some exciting upcoming projects in urban Pacific informal settlements and in remote Australian First Nations communities looking at the different vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities of sanitation systems to climate change. We’re looking forward to continuing to collaborate across the WASH and WRM space to address this complex issue of sustainable sanitation for all.