Toilet Talks for World Toilet Day


November 19 has been designated by the UN as World Toilet Day since 2013. Building on an initial campaign by World Toilet Organisation. Each year, a different theme aims to highlight neglected and under-reported aspects of a global sanitation crisis that contributes to an estimated 432,000 diarrhoeal deaths every year. Currently 4.2 billion people worldwide lack access to safe sanitation, and 673 million practice open defecation. The theme of World Toilet Day 2019 is ‘leaving no one behind’. As UN Water suggest – ‘A toilet is not just a toilet. It’s a life-saver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker.’

To raise awareness around World Toilet Day, the Toilet Talks project has just been launched as week-long virtual event to run from November 12th to 19th. Following an open call through global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) networks, the Toilet Talks website showcases a series of short (3-5 minutes) audio stories relating to WASH, bodies, bathrooms, intersections around access to sanitation and human rights, what ‘leaving no one behind’ means, and the ‘social, economic and environmental consequences of inaction’.

You can access the website here and listen to a wide range of informative Toilet Talks here:

Posters advertising Toilet Talks are being placed in public bathrooms at workplaces and academic institutions for the week preceding World Toilet Day. Posters include a smartphone-readable barcode which links to the website. The idea being to scan the posters and choose from a selection of Toilet Talks to listen to later on, or ‘in situ’!

To find out more about this project, please contact 

Meet the author

Marcus Erridge is a PhD candidate on the Human Rights in Contemporary Societies programme at the Centro de Estados Socials (CES), University of Coimbra, Portugal. His research focuses on the human right to sanitation. He holds an MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights at the University of London’s Institute of Commonwealth Studies and has worked in university administration and for NGOs as a Data Analyst and Senior Research Associate in the UK and US.

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