Event

Webinar: Is toilet a taboo subject for the church?

A webinar to mark the World Toilet Day 2021.

Image
Tanzania toilet

Richard from a village in Tanzania coming out of the toilet to wash his hands.

Photo:

19 November 2021 (Friday), 16.00 – 17.30 hrs CET
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Since 2013, United Nations is observing World Toilet Day (WTD)  on November 19 to create awareness around toilets and the plight  of the 3.6 billion people (about half of world’s population) living without access to safely managed sanitation. Until last year this figure stood at 4.3 billion.  It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.  Access to hygienic sanitation drastically improves the dignity, health and wellbeing of the person. Women and girls are the ones suffering the most from lack of sanitation; not accessing sanitation services is not only undermines their dignity, but also affects their safety and security.

This year’s theme for the World Water Day on March 22 was “Valuing water”.  In line of that theme, this year’s theme for the WTD is “Valuing Toilets”.  The campaign (www.worldtoiletday.org) draws attention to the fact that toilets – and the sanitation systems that support them – are underfunded, poorly managed or neglected in many parts of the world, with devastating consequences for health, economics and the environment, particularly in the poorest and most marginalized communities.

The central narrative of the World Toilet Day 2021 campaign: “Who cares about toilets? Well, 3.6 billion people do.Because they don’t have one that works properly. So, should the church care about toilets? This question may sound strange and might put off some people. Many people think toilet is a subject of taboo and something profane that must not be talked or addressed by the Church.  On the other hand, water has got such strong spiritual significance and its numerous reference in the Bible, has a certain level of sanctity and sacredness associated with water.  Should the church talk about human rights, dignity, health, gender justice, equality, racism, casteism, education and sustainable environment? Certainly, it should and it does.  But come to think of it, that life without a toilet affects all the above aspects of life.  So should the church talk about toilets?  Well many churches do and it’s the prophetic role of the churches to address this issue rather than sweeping it under the carpets while lives of billions of people are affected by lack of access to a toilet.

To discuss more about what churches and other faith groups are doing to address the sanitation challenges, what more can be done, what way the UN mechanisms help us in our quest for a dignified sanitation for all and to listen to first hand experiences of sanitation workers we invite you to the following webinar to commemorate the World Toilet Day.  

Organisers:
World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network
Norwegian Church Aid

Speakers:

Prof. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, UN Special Rapporteur for human right to water and sanitation (human rights perspective)

Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, Deputy General Secretary, World Council of Churches (Churches’ perspective on dignity )

Dagfinn Høybråten, General Secretary, Norwegian Church Aid (ecumenical response to lack of sanitation)

Bishop Arnold Temple, Chairperson, WCC-EWN & President, AACC (why toilets are taboo for church and what should be churches response)

Bezwada Wilson, Coordinator, SKA (abolishing Manual Scavenging movement), India (Sanitary workers’ perspective)

Rabbi Soetendorp, Co-Founder of GIWA, Global International WASH Alliance, Netherland (Interfaith perspective)

Nicole Ashwood, Programme Executive, Just Community of Women and Men, WCC (gender perspective)

Michel Roberts, National co-coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance. (racism perspective)

Dinesh Suna, Coordinator, WCC-Ecumenical Water Network (Moderator)