World Toilet Day is observed annually on 19 November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge but despite this effort one in three people do not have a basic toilet in Africa.
Can you imagine not having privacy when you have a VERY pressing need to relieve yourself in a public place like the market, worship place, school or even clinic? I have found myself in that situation and I know what it feels like!
This made me to ask a first lady recently in a private discussion during a mobilization programme for African women leaders, “have you ever been in a convoy with all your press secretaries and security crews and suddenly you have a call to nature and no place to go?” What would you have done if that happens when you are driving in one of those lonely delapited and isolated roads, surrounded by thick bush and no water? Would you stop your convoy? Where and how would you do it?” these questions touched our hearts so deeply and we thought it was time to take a giant stride for a wake up call to our leaders to take sanitation issues seriously and truly.
Unless it happens to you, it might be difficult to understand what 7 out of 10 rural women in Africa experience daily! Their dignity, privacy, health risk and exposure to harassment and rape cannot be overlooked.
Sadly, sanitation particularly “Shit Talks” has long been an outright uncomfortable issue for most people to talk about. In fact, it still is. The very topic is taboo in some cultures, including our own. But we cannot solve the problem if we do not name the subject.
Where are our global, regional, national and local leaders? Where are the promises? Why do we celebrate International days yearly and still very little progress is made towards addressing these issues?
THIS IS THEREFORE A WAKE UP CALL TO TAKE SANITATION SERIOUSLY AND TOGETHER WITH US, THE WOMEN SANITATION PRACTITIONERS OF THE WORLD, TAKE NECESSARY MEASURES AND SUPPORT INTERVENTION PROJECTS TO IMPROVE ON OUR HYGIENE SITUATION AND BEHAVIOURS!
OUR HEALTH IS IN OUR HANDS! AS SUCH WE NEED THOSE PROMISES AND POLICIES TRANSLATED INTO CONCRETE ACTION FOR THE WORLD TO BE A BETTER PLACE!
SIGNED SALAMATU GARBA
WOMEN FARMERS ADVANCEMENT NETWORK(WOFAN)