Wills Point, Texas – GFA Special Report (Gospel for Asia) – Discussing the troubling problem of open defecation and the lack of basic sanitation for millions throughout the world.
Talking Openly About Open Defecation
Another key dilemma in this discussion—open defecation, hardly a dinner-table topic or a mission committee agenda item—is the fact that accessibility to toilets does not always indicate usage. Changing habits is mostly a matter of changing mindsets in the face of the stranglehold of deeply entrenched beliefs.
Elizabeth Royte, in a comprehensive August 2017 National Geographic Magazine article, reports visiting Parameswaran Iyer, India’s secretary of drinking water and basic sanitation, in 2016. A hand-numbered sign on his wall tracks progress.
“You see that?” he asks. “One hundred thousand is the number of villages that are ODF today.” (ODF is the acronym for open defecation free).
Royte reports working the internal math: “Just 540,000 to go, I note; three years before Modi’s deadline.”
Other players, including the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (with $40 million dollars in prize money allocated toward innovative approaches to new toilet technologies), hundreds of concerned social entrepreneurs, engineers with altruistic motivations, East Asian water initiatives, and countless faith-based organizations are tackling the seemingly intractable worldwide dilemma of toilets, sanitation systems and sullied water.
What drives all this magnitude of interest, field research, consortiums and consultations on sanitation/water projects, awarding of grants and money prizes? Disease—plain and simple. Both waterborne and airborne.
“Some 1.5 million people die globally each year from polluted water diseases alone.”
This article originally appeared on gfa.org
To read more on GFA Digital Media Room on the problem of open defecation, go here.