A Global ‘Urgent Run’ to Raise a Stink for Sanitation
Around 30 sanitation-themed run and walk events held to mark UN World Toilet Day
Singapore: Communities across the world are coming together for sanitation-themed ‘Urgent Run’ walk and run events for World Toilet Day, with around 30 events being held in 18 countries in the lead-up to UN World Toilet Day on 19 November.
While the format of the events varies – including fun runs, educational events, motorbike parades, awareness walks, public toilet cleaning programs, carnivals – they share a unifying message: calling for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis.
“It’s time for toilets to be treated as an urgent global priority,” said Jack Sim, Founder of World Toilet Organization. “The current level of effective action is far short of what’s needed given the scale of the sanitation crisis, with 2.4 billion people still without access to proper sanitation. By joining in the global Urgent Run, communities around the world are coming together to shine a spotlight on the sanitation challenge, and call for urgent action.”
One in three people on this planet still don’t have access to a clean and safe toilet. One thousand children die each day due to poor sanitation. And better sanitation supports better nutrition and improved health, especially for women and children.
The Urgent Run is World Toilet Organization’s annual event for UN World Toilet Day, with a flagship event held in Singapore, and events organised by community groups, companies, universities, volunteers and NGOs across the globe to engage their local communities with sanitation.
This is the second year for the global event, and participating countries include Singapore, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Pakistan, China, the Netherlands, Mongolia, the United States, Kenya, Burundi, Canada, Mozambique, Senegal, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Namibia, and Bhutan.
World Toilet Day was established by World Toilet Organization in 2001 to draw attention to global sanitation issues. Since then the organisation has made great strides through its global advocacy to address the taboo nature of toilets and place sanitation on the agenda of the global community. In 2013, the UN adopted World Toilet Day as an official UN international day: UN World Toilet Day on 19th November.
Visit www.urgentrun.com for more information and to find an event near you. For more information on UN World Toilet Day visit: http://worldtoilet.org/what-we-do/world-toilet-day/
Highlights of Urgent Run events around the world:
SINGAPORE: 1,000 participants joined World Toilet Organization’s flagship 5km fun run for sanitation at the flagship event in Singapore’s East Coast Park on 7 November. The event featured a sanitation-themed carnival and activities to engage Singaporeans with the issue of sanitation, including live performances, an exhibition, competitions, and fancy dress. Participants took part in a big squat in solidarity with the nearly 1 billion people who face the indignity of defecating in the open.
INDIA: New Delhi: World Toilet Organization is hosting an event on 19 November, UN World Toilet Day, in collaboration with Parmarth Niketan, RB India and Pehel-The Initiative, at India Habitat Center, with an Urgent Run and a sanitation seminar.
Also in Delhi volunteer organization, “The Flush Mob” organised an Urgent Run Event on 7 November at Ramjas College, showcasing the issue of sanitation through various art forms including music, dance, photography, puppetry, and other forms of street art. Participants had the chance to soak in the atmosphere and take part in a range of competitions including a Poetry Slam and a Treasure Hunt.
Tiruvannamalai: The Urgent Run Event on 19 November is a 3km Walk covering major landmarks in the Tiruvannamalai District organised by SINAM. Around 1,000 women, government officials, NGO partners, students and activists are expected to rally for the Clean India Campaign and encourage the Government and people to develop the much-needed urgency for sanitary toilets. Informative programmes and cultural performances are also part of the day’s advocacy efforts.
Chennai: Somya Sethuraman is organising a series of workshops spread over two weeks for children from a NGO situated in a fisherman’s community to pass on knowledge about water, sanitation and hygiene, and to learn about their experiences as well. Chennai is also launching an online campaign to encourage everyone to share their toilet/water/hygiene stories in creative ways.
VIETNAM: Around 2,000 people came together for the Urgent Run Vietnam in Binh Duong Province – with a parade, performances and a seminar on sanitation held on 15 November, organised by Kim Hoang Hiep to raise awareness about the urgent need for environmental sanitation.
BHUTAN: The Bhutan Toilet Organisation is encouraging the adoption of public toilets with a campaign from 1 November to 19 November across all 20 districts through educational and refurbishment efforts including: cleaning, and repairing public toilets, educating the community about toilets by involving them and developing ownership of public toilets by making the community accountable.
CAMBODIA: Siem Reap: Global Heritage Tours is holding a Big Squat event on 19 November in one of the local primary schools in Bakong District, where an estimated 500 villagers and school children will be making their stand (or squat) for sanitation.
Battambang: SeeBeyondBorders will hold a sports and health carnival, in Bavel District on 19 November where community members will participate in hand-washing and hygiene awareness raising exercises, and a sports afternoon including a fun run.
PAKISTAN: Islamabad: A series of events was held by UN Habitat Pakistan in Islamabad’s Lake View Park on 12 November, where a tree plantation and a nature walk took place to raise awareness for the urgent need for improved sanitation. School children were actively involved to promote positive behaviour change for a better Pakistan. Islamabad also hosted an advocacy walk on 17 November involving representatives from all age groups and sectors “for better sanitation for better nutrition” while focusing on the importance of sanitation for women and children in particular. The hashtag for the event #UrgentRunPK was trending for 3 hours on twitter on the day.
Karachi: UN Habitat Pakistan is also hosting an Advocacy Walk in Karachi on 19 November, to promote “better sanitation for better nutrition”, while focussing on improved sanitation for women and children in particular. The Walk will be attended by representatives across various demographics.
MONGOLIA: The Rotaract Club of Selbe, Mongolia held an awareness campaign inclusive of a new sanitation project and other interactive games and activities for all attendees of the event, on 14 November.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: More than 3,000 members from various walkers clubs will be gathering for the most urgent walk in their lives in Brazzaville – The Toilets and Sustainable Development Walk, organised by ACITS-ONG on 19 November. The Walk aims to push for a comprehensive sanitation plan in Congo, and a video conference debate with international experts is also expected to take place after the walk.
BURUNDI: APHA in Kamenge, Burundi will be holding a series of power-packed events over two days, starting on 18 November starting off with a marathon, and ending off with various aesthetic performances and a workshop debate to heighten the focus on the urgent need for sanitation improvements in Burundi.
MOZAMBIQUE: Mozambique’s Urgent event, organised by ACRA in Maputo on 21 November will feature a local festival consisting of performances and competitions for all attendees. The event aims to promote good hygiene and sanitation practices among the local community, and improved latrines.
CAMEROON: CAMTO will be kickstarting its Urgent Event in Bali on 19 November with a motorbike parade, followed by the mobilisation of Hygiene and Sanitation Clubs in Government Primary Schools to advocate for open defecation-free communities in the Northwest Region.
KENYA: Umande Trust held an Urgent Run in Nairobi on 15 November featuring a procession/run starting from a community toilet in a slum in Mathare to the Nairobi County Council Governor’s Office with people rallying with “we can’t wait” messages.
SENEGAL: ACRA will hold an Urgent Run in Senegal on 19 November with a full range of events which include a ‘Sanitation Caravane’, a walk around the streets in Bignona and Tenghory, and radio program.
UNITED STATES: Charleston: The College of Charleston will be holding a full-day fundraising booth on 19 November with various toilet-themed activities on campus. They also hosted a run/walk in mid-November to raise awareness about the urgent need for toilets and good sanitation infrastructures.
Seattle: Critical Practices Seattle is hosting an (Un)Run event on 21 November – a completely social, and non-competitive event to raise awareness for sanitation issues worldwide!
CANADA: Organisers GottaGo! called on people to make a stand by joining a fun and informative afternoon on 15 November to celebrate UN Toilet Day and raise awareness about the need for a network of safe and accessible toilets in the city of Ottawa.
THE NETHERLANDS: A local organiser in the Netherlands is hosting a short film screening on 19 November – ‘Hoge Nood Wordt Deugd’ – as part of its efforts to raise awareness about the urgent need for toilets. This will go hand-in-hand with nation-wide social media campaigns as well.
ABOUT THE URGENT RUN
The Urgent Run, World Toilet Organization’s annual event for UN World Toilet Day, is a global run to call for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis. The event brings together communities around the world for a sanitation-themed run or walk in November, in the lead-up to UN World Toilet Day on 19 November. In 2014, the first year for the global event, 22 events took place in 13 different countries. This year the Urgent Run aims to raise an even bigger ‘stink’ for sanitation. Find out more and join the global ‘movement’ at www.urgentrun.com
ABOUT WORLD TOILET ORGANIZATION
World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global non-profit working towards a world with a clean, safe toilet and sanitation for everyone, everywhere, at all times. Our mission is to continue to build the global sanitation movement through collaborative action that inspires and drives demand for sanitation, and provides innovative solutions to achieve sustainable sanitation for all. WTO has commemorated its founding day, 19 November, as World Toilet Day since 2001. In 2013 the UN adopted 19 November as UN World Toilet Day. WTO achieved special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2013. www.worldtoilet.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Jaya Myler, General Manager, World Toilet Organization +6581120032, firstname.lastname@example.org