Simple innovations in latrine building will save hundreds of thousands of lives. But we need to talk about it.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), in partnership with Swedish Red Cross and the World Food Programme, is convening a seminar today at Stockholm World Water Week. The seminar focuses on the role of water and sanitation in strengthening communities’ resilience across the relief to development spectrum.
Speakers from Swedish Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross and the IFRC will present on the importance of sanitation in human health and dignity. A panel discussion with donors, NGOs, and international organisations will map out challenges and ways forward in achieving more resilient livelihoods through water and sanitation interventions.
William Carter, IFRC Water and Sanitation officer in Geneva said that while it’s not always easy to talk about toilets, it is essential. “Every one of us has had a problem finding a toilet at one point or another, we need to acknowledge that two and a half billion people face this challenge on a daily basis,” he said.
Uli Jaspers, IFRC unit manager for water, sanitation and emergency health said the problems were significant, but not insurmountable. “We can fix this, though; it is a problem with a solution. Putting an equal focus on toilets and water supply will see gains in human health and dignity that no other intervention can provide.”
In conjunction with the activities at Water Week, the IFRC has launched a new advocacy report - Getting the balance right - which calls for better parity in access to sanitation and water supply.
The report stresses that sanitation is everybody’s business; from individuals, families and communities to government leaders and the broader international community. Most importantly, the IFRC calls on donors to balance funding between sanitation and water programmes by 2015.