If you need to use the toilet, how far do you have to go? At home, it’s probably close by in a private room with a locked door. At work or school, you might have to go a little further, and use a toilet in a row of stalls. But each stall has a lock, giving you privacy and dignity.
In Bangladesh, however, many people don’t have a toilet at all. Only 55% of people have proper access to sanitation. Many people live in rural areas lacking these basic facilities.
People living in the Bandarban Hills often have to go to the toilet out in the open due to a lack of access to toilets. Open defecation puts women and girls at increased risk. Fear of assault and embarrassment threatens girls’ safety, keeping many girls from attending school.
Preventable diseases like diarrhoea and cholera are common where there are not proper facilities. Without sanitary toilets, or enough education about sanitation, disease can spread quickly. A recent survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicated that less than 60% of people properly wash their hands after going to the toilet. This isn’t due to a lack of cleanliness. Without access to running water, soap or sanitiser it’s almost impossible to stop the spread of germs.
There is a critical need for toilets in Bangladesh.
When people have access to functional and clean toilets, there is less sickness. The risk of drinking water becoming contaminated by faeces is lower. The possibility of bacteria spreading and causing outbreaks of diarrhoea is reduced.
All people deserve safety and dignity. Proper toilets provide these things to women and girls who desperately need them. They can reduce dangerous assaults, raise school attendance by up to 20%, and enable women and girls to practice proper menstrual hygiene.
This is why Churches of Christ Overseas Aid (COCOA) is supporting Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects in Bangladesh. Currently, we are finalising a new project in the Bandarban Hills. This project will be raising awareness of the benefits of using latrines, including proper sanitation training, and demonstrating how to build and maintain latrines.
But it isn’t possible without the help of supporters like you!
It costs $300 to hold a workshop educating people in proper sanitation and hygiene practices. This is an important first step for any WASH project, and something you can help make possible! When you give to the Mid Year Appeal, you are helping to reduce the health and safety issues that have horrible effects on people’s lives in Bangladesh.
This is just one example of how your gift to the COCOA Mid Year Appeal can give vital support to our partners around the world. Donate today at www.gmp.org.au/change