Today is World Toilet Day. Across the world, a child dies from a water-related illness every 12 seconds. According to Ban Ki Moon, 80% of illnesses in Less Developed Countries are due to poor water and sanitation. Around 26,000 children die every year in Uganda from diarrhoea and other diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. These illnesses and deaths are unnecessary and completely preventable.
Katanga is one of the biggest slums in Kampala and also our original KCK centre. We have been working in this community for almost 7 years now, and every time I visit I am always overwhelmed and still shocked about the sanitation situation. Katanga is a community of approximately 15,000 people and only 3 households have their own private latrines. For the remaining 14,997 people living in Katanga, there are just 6 public toilets. These toilets often become overcrowded, people have to wait a long time to use one, and they become dirty and smelly very quickly. Furthermore, to use one of these toilets it costs approximately 3p each time. This may not seem like much, but, considering the average income for a family in Katanga is approximately £40 a month, for a parent struggling to feed their family, using one of these toilets everyday becomes too costly to sustain. As a result most people, particularly children, go elsewhere.
Alternative toilet solutions for people living in a slum such as Katanga include digging their own trenches, using a polythene bag, or going on the open ground. All of these methods are not only unsanitary and contribute to the spread of disease, but they also remove any access to privacy, and dignity.
In the Western World we take for granted the easy access we have to clean, safe, sanitary toilets. Today on World Toilet Day, please take a moment to think about those living in Kampala’s slums who do not have the same luxuries that you do. If you are the praying type, we would love you to join us in praying for sustainable, affordable and achievable sanitation solutions to Katanga’s toilet problem, and the sanitation problems faced in the numerous other slums we work in across Kampala.
If you would like any more information about our Water and Sanitation projects and how you can get involved, please contact us, we would love to hear from you.