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UNICEF, Unilever, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine sponsored a twitter chat yesterday with the hashtag #Toilets4Health. The purpose of the chat was to discuss the issue of sanitation and the ongoing lack of access to improved infrastructure.
Eight main questions were asked. The questions were spread out throughout the twitter chat time for more interaction from participants with the panel. Twitter chats tend to be informal and relaxed with lots of ideas bouncing back and forth between participants. Answers to early questions are often mixed in with answers to later questions.
- How do we make the issue of toilets engaging and fun, especially for children?
- There is a lack of access to appropriate sanitation in much of the world. What are the basics we need to know?
- What’s the role of the private sector, NGOs, IGOs, and government in helping the sanitation crisis? How can they collaborate?
- Is the real issue infrastructure? Or a deep rooted cultural problem?
- What role can initiatives like World Toilet Day play?
- How do we shift from short-term campaigns to long-term behavioral change? And what role do initiatives like UNICEF’s Community Approaches to Total Sanitation (CATS) play in shifting behavior?
- What role do schools play?
- What are some practical ways to generate long-term sustainable change, in regards to sanitation? As businesses? As consumers?
The UNICEF Toilet Team (@team_toilet) kicked off the chat with some stunning statistics: 2.6 billion people are without access to clean and safe toilets. Around one thousand children die each day as a result of diarrhea. Simply ensuring access to clean and safe toilets can reduce the incidence of diarrhea by 36%.
Priti A (@envirotarian) brought up the issue of market solutions taking technology to underserved areas. UNICEF Toilet Team responded that the private sector needs to realize there are 2.5 billion potential customers out there and they have a role to play. NGOs and CSOs can also help stimulate behavioral change and create