As anyone who has been on any of our projects can testify, poo can be a major issue – whether it provokes team investigations in cases of latrine misuse, is the cause of frequent minibus stops, or triggers inappropriate dinner conversation about various poo-related aspects….
But, more seriously, diarrhoea is the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhoea. Only 39 per cent of children with diarrhoea in developing countries receive the recommended treatment. One of the Millennium Development Goals, which all member countries of the UN signed in the year 2000, states that the world will:
“Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation”.
Although there have been major strides made in terms of access to safe water, progress on basic sanitation sadly seems to have been neglected. Simple measures like building pit latrines can reduce the need for people to defecate in the open, in rivers or near areas where children play or food is prepared, which massively increases the risk of spreading diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis A. Among other health gains, sanitation is estimated to reduce diarrhoea cases by 391 million worldwide each year.
According to the World Health Organization, access to latrines also increases school attendance rates for children, especially girls.
If you want to get involved with school building, why not have a look at our Tanzania projects in 2011.