For people who live in chronic poverty around the world, a lack of sanitation and water treatment infrastructure causes hardships in so many areas of their lives. Fortunately, many organizations have made great strides in the last several years to solve this issue and the problems it perpetuates. However, even the most recent statistics reveal that the global water crisis continues. So, there is much work still to be done.

According to a joint monitoring program by the WHO and UNICEF, 2 billion people worldwide lack even basic sanitation services. And within that group, 673 million people must defecate outside without a toilet. The impact this has on people’s health is severe. And the social and economic problems it causes also make life extremely difficult.

global sanitation crisis, 673 million people lack access to a toilet

This blog post will explain the basic problems and solutions to the global sanitation crisis, and link to expert studies from groups that seek to understand, improve, and ultimately solve the issue.

safe and sanitary latrines offer a solution to the global sanitation crisis

Understanding the Global Sanitation Crisis

People who live in a state of chronic poverty are forced to make great sacrifices. When income is inadequate and unstable, many needs that may seem basic must be left unmet. This problem is compounded for people who live in remote areas that lack basic infrastructure like water treatment and sanitation services.

Lack of sanitation can cause several health issues that may seem clear, like diarrhea, bacterial illness, and more. But the social impacts can also be devastating. The stigma attached to open defecation can be detrimental to a person’s dignity. And women and children can feel unsafe and uncomfortable. Economic costs to a household that lacks sanitation can include health care payments and time spent away from work to collect water from open sources.

However, several nonprofit organizations like Outreach International work tirelessly to help people overcome this issue and the many problems it causes.

An improved latrine beside an old one shows how this community is helping to solve the global sanitation crisis

Working to Solve the sanitation Issue

The United Nations has named 17 sustainable development goals, and Sustainable Development Goal #6 is to achieve universal access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene by 2030. The facts and figures reveal that many organizations are making progress toward the goal of solving the global sanitation crisis. But the UN states that the world will not reach this goal unless the rate of progress increases dramatically.

The UN and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) keeps track of the global sanitation crisis. This includes monitoring the water, sanitation, and hygiene issues and progress in affected areas, in a program referred to as WASH. This and other monitoring programs collect and publish information to spread awareness. They not only disseminate facts about the work being accomplished, but the progress that has yet to be made to meet the UN’s sustainable development goal.

education is the key to solving the global sanitation crisis

Outreach International Enables the Solution

Outreach International works with nine partner organizations around the world to enable remote communities that deal with poverty to develop. These efforts can include the construction of clean and safe bathrooms. Often the solution is a latrine that can function without the existence of any municipal sewage treatment infrastructure.

Outreach employs a process that enables the people living with unsafe water to solve the issue themselves. This community-led development process works hand-in-hand with the methodology of Participatory Human Development, or PHD. When people participate in their own improvement, they learn to keep improving on their own.

clean and safe latrines improve health and well-being

Latrine Projects

Outreach International’s Field Operations Research and Advocacy intern Rachael Sorcher has studied sanitation projects and their impacts on communities. Her most recent findings are published in this exploration of community-led latrine projects, which she produced with the direction of Elene Cloete, Outreach’s Director of Research and Advocacy.

Latrine Projects are happening in several Outreach affiliated communities. And many of these projects are being led by women. Women like Singari. She’s the Vice President of Kurumpeta Pragati organization in Kurumpeta, India. She led a latrine construction project in her community.

Singari is a strong woman making a real difference in the world

These latrine projects and other efforts to provide clean water to impoverished communities are effectively combating the global sanitation crisis. The work being done is impressive, and the people striving to solve their own issues are inspiring. Outreach International is accelerating its progress. But the problem will be ultimately solved when people like you become aware and decide to be a part of the solution.

How to Help

You can learn all about the current global sanitation crisis statistics and the progress Outreach is making to solve it by reading this community-led latrine projects report.