AMCOW AfricaSan

July 30, 2023

Why We Must Wake Up To Africa’s Sanitation Crisis

Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director, Speak Up Africa

It’s time we wake up. Wake up to the fact that millions of people live without access to sanitation. Wake up to the fact that we aren’t doing enough to stop this. It’s true that increasing political commitments and international interest has put sanitation to the top of the global development community’s agenda. However, national budgets are still too low to help implement any real change, and international response is too fragmented. Today, on World Toilet Day, is a good time to push for answers. How can we turn promises and words into meaningful action? 

In 2015, African ministers gathered in Senegal and adopted the Ngor Declaration on Sanitation and Hygiene. This declaration had a simple but powerful vision: to achieve adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene services for all and to end open defecation by 2030. 

Yet, today 1 in 3 people still live without adequate facilities, a figure which rises to 75% in West Africa. As a result, rural communities in 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa still predominantly practice open defecation, which can lead to the transmission of disease and an increase in poverty.

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