Tuesday, 23 March 2010

People across the world make a stand against the sanitation and water crisis

Serena O'Sullivan
End Water Poverty

It's been an amazing few days. The World's Longest Toilet Queue has taken the globe by storm. 72 countries took part - with hundreds and hundreds of Queues being formed across Africa, South Asia, Australasia, Asia, Europe and both North and South America, and some still to come!

Stories, photos and registration sheets have been flying in - the team inbox has been inundated with amazing material. We'll submit this information to Guinness World Records as soon as we've authenticated it and we'll of course let you know the outcome. But as this specific record is brand new, feel happy to be in the record books! If you're yet to send your registration sheets in, it's not too late, just send them through to us here.

We'll update the main website in the coming days - highlighting some key activities and Queues, and sharing the brilliant videos and photos being shared, including a massive Queue of 1500 in Bhopal, 20000 taking action in Nepal and the London Queue appearing in an amazing and influential publication.

It is remarkable and heart-warming to see people mobilising around a cause often forgotten and not seen enough in the headlines in the developed world, while our global neighbours are hit hard by a crisis that has no place in the 21st century.

We'll make sure these global actions are taken right up to the people who have the power to make the difference at the Washington DC High-Level Meeting in April. Read detailed civil society recommendations for the meeting here.

So, for now, rest and receive our congratulations on being a Guinness World Record holder and for making such an important global stand for sanitation and water for all!

Monday, 22 March 2010

La campagne pour former la queue devant les toilettes la plus longue au monde a commencé en France!

Action Contre la Faim, en partenariat avec la Coalition Eau, a organisé des files d’attentes devant les toilettes sur l’ensemble du territoire les 18 et 19 mars. Regardez une vidéo de l’événement à Paris, avec centaines de militants.

Uploaded by actioncontrelafaim. - Up-to-the minute news videos.

Gordon Brown caught short in the toilet queue...

Tom Baker
The London Queue has happened! Tom, working at Tearfund, an End Water Poverty member, helped to organise the event which had a very interesting political spin...

What a morning! Over 120 campaigners from across the End Water Poverty coalition joined us for the London leg of the World’s Longest Toilet Queue.

Representatives from the trade union UNISON queued alongside supporters of Action against Hunger, who stood in solidarity with student activists from Medsin, while members of RESULTS UK and the British Medical Association waited next to campaigners from Water Aid, Tearfund, UNICEF and Pump Aid.

But everyone was united with one message. That we need our politicians to act to end the scandal that means 2.6 billion people don’t have access to a decent toilet…

The queue formed outside the Houses of Parliament and must have made an impressive sight as politicians, journalist and officials made their way into work on a sunny Monday morning. We had lots of photographers down covering the event ( http://twitpic.com/1a7i1l ) so fingers crossed it’ll make it into the newspapers.

It was an appropriate setting when you consider that 150 years, it was in the same building that MPs had decided they needed to do something about the ‘Great Stink’ that was engulfing London, caused by the River Thames, being full s**t because the capital didn’t have any a proper sanitation system.

Then they acted, and in the following years a sewerage system was built, and the city saw a rapid decline in number of people dying from illnesses associated with poor sanitation. So much so that the BMA voted it the most important public health intervention ever.

Today as campaigners queued together outsider, we hope that Gordon Brown got the message that he needs to act now, not on behalf of constituents but on behalf of communities around the world.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Pictures of your Queues!

Serena O'Sullivan
End Water Poverty

71 countries? All joining together to stand up our right to sanitation and water? It's amazing, and here at End Water Poverty, we're absolutely thrilled and ridiculously excited about the events about to unfold across the world.

The fact this campaign has taken hold in so many places is testament to the serious and damning crisis gripping some of the poorest developing countries. Campaigners are taking the message to the streets - it's not acceptable that 4,000 children are dying every single day from preventable illnesses just because they don't have access to safe water and sanitation.

This call to action reached the streets of Paris today, where End Water Poverty members Action Contre La Faim and Coalition Eau organised a 'flash mob' Queue at the place de la Madeleine - where the city's oldest public toilets are to be found. Over 100 people exploded into action!

You can see photos for the event on our Flickr page. And more and more will be added over the coming days - so keep visiting!

Hectic planning and excitement

Shikha Shrestha
WaterAid Nepal

An inspiring note from Shikha who has been working tirelessly in Nepal on the campaign. And with its arrival comes excitement and last minute good news!

I used to think that I am the person who is never tired with responsibilities, do you also feel the same? It has been nearly 2 months of planning for the World Longest Toilet Queue. It is not only me, there were all of the team members of WaterAid in Nepal, partner agencies as well as other stakeholders engaged in the campaigning. For me, it was the first time, working so closely with variety of people and organizations, all having different working style and priorities. True, there was more need of balancing acts to deal with these diverse people and mindsets:) Sometimes you feel so excited that you forget all those tiredness and sometimes you are so frustrated that you just want to shut your mind and mouth:( All those mixed feelings were there while planning and moving ahead.

The World's Longest Toilet Queue is starting from tomorrow. We have finished all our planning and now the time has come to unfold those plans and dreams. The queue will be organized for all 3 days in Bhatbhateni Supermarket, the country's biggest supermarket. Credit goes to Ashutosh who always had a bigger dream for the campaign as well as good contact with friends like Anil Thaman who made our dream of organizing the queue in the supermarket become a reality by convincing the owner. The convincing skills of these two people is a great asset to our campaign!

Another attraction for tomorrow is the candle light vigil to be organized in memory of Jajarkot and adjacent districts where people died last year from a massive diarrohoea outbreak. The vigil will be coordinated by our NGOFUWS and Guthi, our active members who had been great mobilizer of youth volunteers.

Public Health Association is another stakeholder who is organizing mini queue in front of hospital as well as lobby programs in Local Development Office. These are activities planned for Sunday. The association had also agreed to bring students with their uniform to gather in the main event at Tudikhel.

Tudikhel event is major attraction where several of other organizations like Pashim Paila organizing photo exhibition of jajarkot, Yaatra organizing poster competition and live painting, Patan CBR organizing wall comic exhibition of disabled communities, wireless space sponsored by Worldlink are some extra activities in Tudikhel. Well, there will be space for writing letters to parliamentarians demanding their urgent actions. I forgot to mention about our musical programs. There are more and more. If I go on sharing it will definitely be a long story!

We have dreamed and planned these together but let's see how it all goes. If we succeed then it will be a success story, if not then it will be a good lesson so that we dare to be more ambitious next time:)

More stories and my reflections to come.......

Brilliant response from the far corners of the world!

Ceridwen Johnson - Communications Manager, FAN
Freshwater Action Network

This week, we’ve been contacting our members to find out what they’re planning. The response has been magnificent, with everyone showing lots of enthusiasm and telling us about incredible plans that will help make this event a real success.

FAN Nepal has been incredibly active, having arranged a whole week of different activities and meetings that will culminate with a Queue expected to have around 10,000 people present! FAN South America (FANAS) have chosen the V World Urban Forum to stage their mass mobilization so it’s bound to attract plenty of attention.

ANEW in Kenya are expecting 1,000 people in their queue in the notorious Kibera slums in Nairobi - the biggest slums in Africa. In India the Institute of Sustainable Development, Tamilnadu, are expecting over 500 people in their queue. They have organized a great day full of activities, involving all the local papers. Over in Kodaikanal, water activists are expecting around 150 people for a workshop on water, showing different presentations from water organizations to theatre groups, portraying the impact of water on development. It’s great to hear about young people getting involved too. Lok Prerna are expecting around 5,000 students from schools and colleges in the area.

In Spain the Soroptimist International Marina Baixa Group are preparing themselves for a great day having organised their queue in the local square. They have involved their council together with the support of politicians of the area and the media. They have designed their posters and banners and are preparing different press releases.

Unfortunately some organisations have also faced problems arranging their queues, especially in finding government permissions or getting the funds needed, being forced to cancel their involvement on the event. These issues have not stopped them from participating, as most organisations that can’t hold their own queues will be joining other ones in the area.

Happy World Water Day 2010!


Ceridwen Johnson
Communications Manager
Freshwater Action Network

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Queue in Holland!

Jessica Bekker
Jessica works in Holland for End Water Poverty member Simavi and is organising a huge Queue in Amsterdam next week!

Dear Toilet Queuers!

In the Netherlands there will be queues as well to raise awareness for the urgent problem that still 2.6 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation!

We are one of the 70 countries, in total this will add up to a great amount of people and pressure.

On Thursday the 25th of March, when the water sector gathers together for World Water Day, a long toilet queue will be formed and a manifesto will be offered to the Dutch ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed by more than 25 NGOs and water companies. See the manifesto here.

If you are organizing a queue in the Netherlands, please contact me with the total amount of people queuing up. When we offer the manifesto we will mention the Dutch queues, so will include your amount of people as well. A picture of your queue would be fantastic to make a small compilation of Dutch contributions.

To inform me about your queue, contact Jessica Bekker from Simavi through jessica.bekker@simavi.nl
. Good luck for your Queues!

The Last 4 Days!

We're almost there!! A World Record attempt and more people joining the cause every minute!

WSSCC, EWP and FAN are seeing some amazing advocacy work for this global event: There are parades, presentations, concerts and many more exciting aspects of each and every queue. We're proud to be a part of something so meaningful, so unique and so multi-faceted!

Our Coalition members and National Coordinators have been very active in this initiative, and there are WSSCC WASH Coalition queues in Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Ukraine, Tanzania, Pakistan, Malawi, Madagascar, Liberia and Bulgaria, not to mention the numerous queues being hosted globally by other WSSCC partners and friends. Thanks to all for your continued support!

Now is the time to spread the word to those who may not know the importance of this event...Send the message to your professional networks, your friends and family, through Facebook and other social media, anywhere you can! Encourage people to join the online queue to show their support--it's free and easy!

We'll be working from our side supporting the queues, collaborating with partners, gaining media attention and of course, continuing to advocate, even after 22 March!

Good luck to all, and keep up the great work!

The WSSCC Advocacy Team

Monday, 15 March 2010

A week to go!

Serena O'Sullivan
End Water Poverty

It's only a week to go until the biggest global mobilisation on water and sanitation we've ever seen - the World's Longest Toilet Queue on World Water Day 2010.

From Germany to Ghana, Togo to Great Britain, Senegal to South Africa, Australia to Armenia, Spain to Nepal and France to the USA and Canada - nearly 60 countries are taking part.

This is amazing for the central team to witness. We'll be attending Queues all over the place, and encourage you to do the same. Find out about public Queues on the website, and feel free to organise your own too - you just need 24 friends to attend with you! (The rest of the rules are here).

Last minute things to remember:
  • If you're planning to organise a Queue, please take two minutes and register it so we can track the campaign and include you in the Record attempt.
  • We would love to see your pictures and video clips, so make sure you have a camera or phone with you to grab exciting images from your Queue!
  • AMAZING to think we'll all be Guinness World Record breakers this time next week! Just make sure your Queue is counted by filling in the registration sheets.
  • We'll also be tweeting and writing about the event online. Would be great to see your blog posts, tweets and facebook promotion too.
The World's Longest Toilet Queue promises to be a fun event for us all, but an event that will also exert considerable pressure on politicians to act now. We can make change happen and save lives - and I thank each of you for taking part to put an end to a crisis needlessly affecting billions around the world.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

London Queue at the Houses of Parliament!

Tom Baker
An update on the London Queue from Tom, who works for Tearfund, an End Water Poverty member, and is helping to organise the London event for the World's Longest Toilet Queue on 22nd March.

I visited the site of the London Toilet Queue this morning to talk about the final plans with those helping to organise our queue. We're going to be holding our queue on Old Palace Yard, directly across the road from the Houses of Parliament.

We couldn't ask for a better backdrop to our event, which is going to remind our government that they must continue to show leadership on this fundamental issue. We've already got almost 100 people committing to come down, but we've got room for more, so do tell anyone you know.

Later on World Water Day, we hope to arrange for some small delegations of our campaigners to go and meet with various politicians to reinforce why we need to see more done for the billions still waiting for a decent loo. We've even got a giant toilet roll to handover to one of them!

As I was standing outside, inside Parliament the government was announcing the date of our budget, 24th March, just two days after our queue.

It was a good reminder about the economic case about the importance of action on water and sanitation, that it's one of the most cost effective development interventions and that for every $1 invested in water and sanitation, $8 is returned in increased productivity.

Let's hope, that as they're thinking about our budget, they get the message that action on water and sanitation pays.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Petite mise à jour sur la Plus longue queue du monde pour les toilettes

Serena O'Sullivan
End Water Poverty

Petite mise à jour sur la Plus longue queue du monde pour les toilettes, un incroyable, étonnant et inspirant 54 pays participeront, avec de plus en plus qui offrent leur soutien tous les jours.

Au Liberia, les lobbyistes feront la queue pendant cinq jours. Chaque jour la Queue aura lieu dans un bidonville différent, et terminera avec un événement collectif qui aura lieu la journée mondiale de l’Eau. Sitali, notre contact au Liberia, travaille consciencieusement pour lancer cette série de queues. Nous sommes en pensée avec lui !

A Londres, il y aura un énorme foyer politique. Les organisateurs demandent aux participants d’arriver au parlement à Westminster pour faire la queue en costume cravate. Soyez assurés que tout sera révélé le moment venu. Entretemps, vous pouvez répondre à l’événement sur Facebook. La Queue aura lieu le matin pour qu’on puisse y participer avant d’aller au travail. Le bruit court qu’il y aura des petits-déj de luxe pour les « queueurs » !

Le Burkina sera un des endroits les plus impressionnants pour faire la queue. TOUT LE MONDE y participera! Des organisations de jeunesse font des pétitions à faire circuler pendant la Queue, des organisations pour les gens handicapés y feront grande partie, et la Queue aura lieu au Palais. Nous sommes en pensée avec tous les organisateurs – Aline, Yacouba, n’arrêtez-pas de nous inspirer!

Nous vous avons présenté seulement trois des centaines de Queues déjà enregistrés – en Guinée, Sénégal, Inde, Bangladesh, France, Pays-Bas, Etats-Unis, Royaume-Uni, Australie, Togo, Ghana entre autres – nous vous remercions tous. End Water Poverty, FAN et WSSCC ferons tout pour assurer que vos voix soient entendu au niveau plus haut, pour que cette crise cesse de prendre les vies pour rien chaque jour. N’abandonnez-pas ! Nous pouvons le faire !

Monday, 8 March 2010

Why gender equality needs sanitation and water for all – and vice versa

On International Women’s Day we need to be reminded of the inherent interconnectedness between gender justice, sanitation and water, and the eradication of poverty. The links are so clear, and circular.

When a community lacks safe sanitation or clean water, it is the women and girls in that community who suffer most. Time spent fetching water, often hours every day, keeps millions of girls out of school and prevents women from being able to spend time on more economically productive – and liberating – work.

Half of the girls in Africa who drop out of school do so either because they have water-carrying duties or their schools lack the sanitary facilities they need during menstruation. Further, much of the financial cost of the sanitation and water crisis – estimated to be worth 5% of Africa’s GDP – is a result of the economic waste and exclusion time-consuming water carrying entails.

Add to this the impacts on mothers when 2.2 million children are lost each year due to preventable causes relating to water and sanitation, and the increased risk of physical and sexual abuse when women travel far to fetch water or use sanitation facilities, and it is clear that water and sanitation is a women’s issue.

The Millennium Development Goals will not work for women unless the targets on water and sanitation are met. But likewise, progress on those targets will be severely constrained without significant improvements in the status and power of women in their own communities and polities.

For one, inequitable access to land rights – only 2% of the world’s land is owned by women - is a key underlying factor in the lack of access to water, and the greater levels of poverty in female-headed households.

And just as fundamentally is the fact that women’s voices are not sufficiently heard or respected in investment choices.

Research shows that women value sanitation facilities much more strongly than men, due to the greater effects they face relating to health, security and dignity. Increasing expressed demand for sanitation is a key way to drive supply, and the UN Human Development Report (2006) argues that women’s empowerment may be the most effective ways of doing this, thus expanding coverage for all.

International Women’s Day falls just two weeks before World Water Day, and both provide key moments to fight for action to improve gender equality. Make sure you take action and join The World’s Longest Toilet Queue to make a stand for sanitation, water and women’s rights.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Stopping needless deaths in Liberia

Muyatwa Sitali
WASH Consortium / Oxfam GB

Sitali is working on the Queue in Liberia - an amazing five day attempt in different slums across the country. Read on to find out why the issue of sanitation is so pressing in Liberia...

Access to safe water and sanitation facilities remains extremely low in both urban and rural areas of Liberia. Only 1 in 7 have access to safe sanitation facilities and only 1 in 4 people have access to safe water. As a result, Liberians are highly vulnerable to preventable waterborne and vector-borne diseases. Together, lack of safe water for drinking and household use, poor sanitation and bad hygiene practices cause about 18 percent of all deaths in Liberia (WHO, 2008). These are needless deaths, which can be prevented if investments for the sector were improved, if hygiene messages were targeted and if leadership and policies were enhanced.

The Worlds Longest Toilet Queue is therefore a necessary undertaking to raise attention to the sanitation and water crisis. In Liberia, the three million people (out of a population of 3.5 million) who lack access to safe and improved sanitation facilities are forced to use the bush, or the beach and some rely on very risky latrines perched on top of rivers. This exposes thousands of people, especially children and women, to security risks in addition to the health hazards that face the whole population.

Continued neglect of the sector will weigh down other sectors such as education and agriculture as these rely on a healthy nation. The health sector will continue to spend millions of dollars on curing diseases that can be easily prevented. As the old adage says, ‘prevention is better than cure’ - investment in the water and sanitation sector is an effective way of reducing costs and increasing benefits. The World's Longest Toilet Queue therefore should continue to raise attention to the water and sanitation crisis and seek decisive action in Liberia and other parts of the world that suffer with the needless deaths caused by poor sanitation, dirty water and bad hygiene.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Ensemble, nous pouvons faire une différence !

Shikha Shrestha
WaterAid Nepal

Shikha aide la coordination de La Queue pour les Toilettes la Plus Longue du Monde à travers de Népal.

Malgré une abondance de ressources de l’eau en Népal, un quart de la population n’a pas l’accès de l’eau potable. Encore plus grave est les conditions sanitaires : presque une moitié de la population totale est forcée de déféquer en plein air. Cette réalité a un résultat ravageant pour la santé: l’été dernier, il y avait une déclaration catastrophique de diarrhée en Jarjarkot et les autres quartiers isolés du pays qui a tué 315 personnes et a touché 47,000 de plus. Nous ne pouvons pas permettre la situation de se reproduire encore donc nous soutenons la campagne globale qui s’appelle « La Queue pour les Toilettes la Plus Longue du Monde ». Nous monterons notre solidarité avec les gens qui toujours attendent pour une toilette - nous utiliserons cette opportunité pour faire la pression sur les personnes qui peuvent influencer la politique pour augmenter leurs engagement en abordant la crise sanitaire.

Pour nous, la campagne est une façon pour mobiliser les masses pour que nous puissions influencer les dirigeants politiques. En Népal, la campagne d’End Water Poverty Népal, Freshwater Action Network Népal et WASH Chapter en Népal ont unis ses forces. Il y a été les réunions collectives pour la communication et la planification d’un évènement centrale en Kathmandu. Mr Ashutosh Tiwari, qui a récemment entré dans WaterAid Népal comme une Représentative du Pays, a joué un rôle important en agrandissant les partenariats et en créant les innovations.

Dans les régions rurales du pays, la campagne se fixera sur la dissémination du message des installations sanitaires aux façons qui sont adéquats culturellement. Une version locale du manuel principal a été fournie pour le soutien de planification et la Federation de Water et Sanitation Users Group Népal sera engagée ici, ainsi que le Freshwater Action Network.

Le grand évènement en Kathmandu essayera de créer le plus grand impact politique qui est possible. Les dirigeants politiques participeront pour partager leurs attachements en luttant la crise. Nous créons l’élan pour un mois avant l’évènement – un nouveau plan. Il y aura une série d’articles qui seront imprimés dans les journaux nationaux de renom, ce qui soulève la sensibilisation de la crise. Les organisations de jeunesse seront inclus et donneront leurs créativités à la campagne, qui comprendront les programmes web 2.0 et aussi une campagne en ligne.

Nous avons pensés à plusieurs évènements drôles qui incluent un concert et le théâtre – nous sommes ambitieux ! Nous voulons faire un impact politique mais aussi une campagne amusant qui sera mémorable pour tout le monde.

Les plans seront finalisés cette semaine mais ce serait excellent si nous pouvons avoir vos commentaires et suggestions pour faire l’évènement même plus influent. Et où que vous soyez dans le monde, du Népal rural à une ville d’Europe, nous vous demandons de joindre la Queue parce que nous sommes confiants qu’ensemble nous pouvons faire une différence !

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

WLTQ and Women

Great News!

200+ toilet queues scheduled all over the world, 50+ countries involved in the campaign, and new people joining the queue every day...It's a great time to advocate!

WSSCC would like to thank our newest "Famous Queuer": Minister Maria Mutagamba from Uganda. Minister Mutagamba, Minister of Water and Environment, is a WSSCC Woman Leader for WASH, a WSSCC initiative for women from diverse geographical and professional backgrounds who care about the global crisis in water supply, sanitation and hygiene, and who are particularly concerned with the disproportionate burden that this crisis places on women.

It's important to advocate WLTQ and sanitation for all not only for the health and economic reasons, but also because of the gender component: The UNDP report from 2006 estimates that half of the girls who stop attending primary school in Africa do so because of the lack of toilets!

Among these 2.5 billion people without sanitation, women are most influenced. They often lack privacy, and as a result, their dignity suffers.

WLTQ seeks to acknowledge and support these women through this campaign, along with several international women's organizations (such as the Soroptimists, Gramalaya, and many more) and the thousands of women queuing and organizing activities on World Water Day 2010.

Great Job Ladies!

To read more about Minister Mutagamba, visit our website at http://www.wsscc.org/

Other useful links: