It Takes a Village: How One Toilet Becomes 150,000

By Maria Dieter, Communications Assistant, PSI Today is World Water Day. Take a moment to think about all of the ways you use water: to drink, to brush your teeth, to cook. But what if you couldn’t be sure whether the water in your home was safe to use? Check out the story below to

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A New Class of Toilets

By Sophia Greenbaum, Graphic Designer, PSI Sandy Garçon, Manager, External Relations & Communications, PSI “Excuse me. May I use your toilet?” Meseret Workneh takes great joy in hearing this ordinary request. Only five months ago, this twenty-seven-year-old mother of one could barely make ends meet from selling coffee on the side of the road. Now

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How Collaboration Led to 20,000 Toilet Sales in India – and Counting!

By Jennifer Foster, Director of PATH’s WASH team; and John Sauer, Senior Technical Advisor for PSI’s WASH program This blog post was originally posted on A toilet as an aspiration? In countries where we take flushing for granted, this perspective might be hard to understand. But when family finances are so scarce that school

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Safichoo toilet

Improving Sanitation through Empathic Design: Meet Jasmine Burton, a PSI Global Health Corps Fellow

By Maria Dieter, External Relations and Communications Assistant, PSI Each day, the youth of today find innovative ways to combat injustice. In the world of global health, some of these young people can be found as fellows in the Global Health Corps, which was founded by Barbara Bush to combat some of the injustices she

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Making a Better Toilet with Social Franchising

By Shankar Narayanan, Director of Programs at PSI India

Credit: NY TimesI’d like to eat a burger. A chicken burger, mind you.

What if I had to go to a bakery for the bun, a butcher for the meat, a grocer for the lettuce, tomato and onion and a deli for the cheese?

By the time I put everything together, the lettuce has wilted, the bread is stale and the meat is looking a bit funny. To top it all off, I’ve never even made a chicken burger before and I’m not sure of how to cook it.

That’s what it’s like buying a toilet in Bihar.

Over 60% of India’s population does not have access to a toilet, meaning they are forced to defecate outside, a practice which causes the spread of diarrheal disease and contamination of the environment. PSI partnered with the NGOs Monitor Group, PATH and Water For People to answer the question: “Why don’t households have toilets?”.

We found that the supply chain is fragmented.

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Gates Foundation Calls for Reinventing the Toilet

The need to make sanitation accessible to the poor is clear. Some 40 percent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – use unsanitary or unsafe pit latrines or practice open defecation, and the consequences can be devastating. One of the most shocking is this: Every year, food and water tainted with fecal matter

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Getting Serious about the World's Toilet Problem

Toilets may not be a topic that get as much attention as others, but over 1 billion people around the world must defecate out in the open and over 2 billion people do not have access to clean and private toilets. That means that billions are at risk of diseases that are spread through fecal matter such as diarrhea and cholera.

Today’s World Toilet Day is meant to make some noise about the issue by raising awareness. The stakes are high and the issue is serious. According to the WHO, the areas with the lowest access to proper sanitation are sub-Saharan Africa (31%), southern Asia (36%) and Oceania (53%). “World Toilet Day has a serious purpose: it aims to stimulate dialogue about sanitation and break the taboo that still surrounds this issue,” says the World Toilet Day website. “In addition, it supports advocacy that highlights the profound impact of the sanitation crisis in a rigorous manner, and seeks to bring to the forefront the health and emotional consequences, as well as the economic impact of inadequate sanitation.”

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Innovators Answer the Gates Call to Reinvent the Toilet

The winners of the Reinvent the Toilet challenge hosted by the Gates Foundation were announced this week. Participants were encouraged to innovate on the toilet to bring better sanitation to the world’s poorest. “To pass the foundation’s threshold for the world’s next toilet, it must operate without running water, electricity or a septic system, not discharge pollutants, preferably capture energy or other resources, and operate at a cost of 5 cents a day,” explains NPR.

The winners were California Institute of Technology ($100,000 first prize), Loughborough University ($60,000 second prize) and University of Toronto ($40,000 third prize). A two day fair wraps up today in Seattle that serves as a place for the innovators who have heeded the challenge’s call to share their ideas and inventions.

Mark Tran summarizes the importance of the innovation for the Guardian.

Sanitation and hygiene have been the poor cousins in the global water, sanitation and hygiene work and programmes, outfunded by as much as 13 to one, even though most water-related diseases are really sanitation-related diseases.

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