2.6 billion people worldwide live without access to a toilet. In Africa, diarrhea, caused by a lack of toilets and poor hygiene is the biggest killer of children under five years of age, taking more lives than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined. 626 million Indians still practise open defecation. Diarrheal diseases resulting from a lack of toilets and poor hygiene kill 1,000 children every day and cost the Indian economy an estimated $53.8 billion per year.
WASH United is not just another NGO. WASH United is a Club in which some of the world’s biggest sports stars stand united with school children in Africa and India, top political decision makers and ordinary people from around the world to fight for safe drinking WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for all people, everywhere. The three goals of the WASH United Club:
- Make toilets sexy.
- Promote hand-washing with soap at critical times.
- Full recognition and realization of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.
WASH United works using three key tactics to fight for safe drinking WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for all people and to put sanitation and hygiene in the spotlight:
- Harnessing the passion for sport and the role model status of super stars.
- Using fun, interactive games and storytelling to promote learning and to facilitate longterm behaviour change.
- Focusing on positive, aspirational communications that appeal to higher-level human needs and desires.
The initial WASH United campaign leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa reached more than 25 million people. Within the first year of campaigning, the WASH United club had already grown to some 32,000 members, most of whom joined through our WASH in Schools programs. Now WASH United taps into new innovative communications beyond TV, radio or print media, in order to extend the reach and impact in our African target countries.
In 2012 we started our work in India. Together with our partner Quicksand, we have developed the format of “The Great WASH Yatra”. The Yatra will be a multi-channel mega campaign in the format of a carnival or méla – making sanitation and hygiene messages stick for millions of Indians in hardcore open defecation areas in central India.
Our advocacy work engages political decision makers at all levels, to promote and protect the human right to water and sanitation. We lobby for broader recognition of the right. This work is both informed by our expertise at national level, and feeds into our national partners’ advocacy work.
And what about you? Support WASH United and join the Club!