UNIC Pretoria observed World Toilet Day on Friday, 18 November 2016, with a group of young dynamic library users at the UNIC library in Pretoria. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness on toilet hygiene and sanitation in relations to Goal 6 of the SDG’s which calls for increased access to clean water and sanitation worldwide.
The event unfolded with a presentation on the background of World Toilet Day, the role of the UN in promoting this day and special focus on this year’s theme ‘Toilets and Jobs”. The presentation pointed out the dangers of not practicing good toilet habits and the long-term effects, such as the spread of diseases which include diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, polio and infectious hepatitis.
Some participants raised concerns that they did not see the importance of observing World Toilet Day because they reside in communities that still do not have toilets. This led to a discussion regarding other challenges faced by community members stemming from the lack of access to adequate toilets. Such challenges include individual safety, particularly for women and children as this inaccessibility makes them more vulnerable to rape and other forms of gender-based violence.
Following this interactive discussion, participants committed themselves to sharing the information with other members of their communities. The discussion about lack of access to toilets has also prompted UNIC
Pretoria to partner with relevant organisations in 2017 to assist in providing toilets to communities in need as part of promoting and living the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). At the close of the event, participants received World Toilet Day promotional materials such as pencils, erasers, temporary tattoos, coasters, bookmarks as well as stickers, kindly provided by UN Wash.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon’s message on World Toilet Day encouraged global citizens to remain “committed in achieving a world where all people enjoy access to adequate and equitable sanitation” through collective efforts.