School girls walk to the toilet block built by World Vision at Simwami Community School in Zambia. For much of the world, a shortage of toilets is not just an inconvenience, it’s a matter of life and death.
Forty percent of the people on earth—2.5 billion of the world’s 7 billion men, women, and children—go through their day without improved sanitation. One billion people defecate in the open—in fields, forests, or rivers.
It’s no surprise that the highest death rates for children under 5 occur where open defecation is common. The same places lag behind in social and economic growth, security, gender equity, and care for the environment.
If you want to change the world, it’s not enough to give someone a functioning toilet and sink. They have to understand its value, keep it clean and maintained, and use it.
To improve the lives of children, World Vision provides clean water, toilets, and hygiene training in many schools around the world.
Written by Kathryn Reid
Photo ©2014 Jon Warren / World Vision