We join with advocates worldwide in celebrating the following days every year. We explore local issues in a global context.
World Water Day on March 22
World Water Day (WWD) offers widespread opportunities for advocacy and education about the global water crisis. An initiative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, WWD now features a variety of advocacy tools in many languages. There are position papers, videos, posters, educational games, and templates local groups may use to produce buttons, banners and t-shirts. This year commemorates the International Year of Water Cooperation. The 2012 theme was Water and Food Security. The 2011 theme was Water and Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge. Campaigns capitalize on the social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr.
To commemorate World Water Day, PHLUSH has joined events organized by the Portland Roasting Company to educate the public and showcase efforts of local groups. We also conduct online advocacy using social media and blog posts to question the use of drinking water as a conduit for urine and feces.
Global Handwashing Day on October 15
Global Handwashing Day 2012 is celebrating its fifth birthday with the 2012 theme “Help More Children Reach Their 5th Birthday.” Handwashing with soap can help prevent diarrhea, pneumonia, and other disease that cut children’s lives short. Among the tools available are logos, templates for presentations, and social media guidance. This year there is a special Global Handwashing Day Planner’s Pack for teachers prepared by the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing.
PHLUSH Public Restroom Design Principles support handwashing by recommending sinks be placed where even those not using the toilet can find them. In our advocacy, we have found public agencies and individual citizens that may be uncomfortable discussing public toilets are often eager to support the handwashing that public toilets make possible. Handwashing is also a key part of the emergency sanitation advocacy PHLUSH is doing in Portland and for other earthquake-vulnerable cities on the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The Sewer Catastrophe Companion includes directions for the low-cost Tap Up system which facilitates handwashing while capturing grey water for reuse.
World Toilet Day on November 19
World Toilet Day was launched a decade ago by the World Toilet Organization. Since that time, international groups and NGOs including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have joined in on the action. The World Toilet Day website has many resources for teachers. For example, it provides stickers you can print and use. Water Aid has also participated for many years, and they provide a WTD Toolkit. In 2012, the focus is on the Sanitation for All Drive to 2015 and the Millennium Development Goals, which are lagging behind on sanitation. New York’s Poop Project uses the arts to promote WTD issues. WTD is on Facebook. This year’s theme is “I give a shit!” with Twitter hashtags:
#IGiveAShit and #WTD2012.
To commemorate World Toilet Day, PHLUSH has spent time researching emergency sanitation solutions for urban areas in the United States. This research led to the adaptation of the Twin Bucket Emergency Toilet – used in Christchurch, New Zealand after a massive earthquake – for cities in North America. PHLUSH and partner organization MDML successfully presented this concept to the City of Portland. This simple emergency toilet design and MDML’s Sewer Catastrophe Companion were endorsed by the City of Portland, and both organizations have since offered basic trainings on emergency sanitation. In 2012, PHLUSH will share information about the Twin Bucket Emergency Toilet with cities across the nation.