Sanitation is a Human Right

photo courtesy of Vic Hinterlang

Every December 10th we celebrate Human Rights Day, to acknowledge and raise awareness for the ongoing struggle to achieve the universal and inalienable rights we are all entitled to. As an organization that is motivated by a mission to increase access to sanitation for vulnerable populations, we firmly believe in the fundamental right to human dignity as a driving force for change. In the absence of dignity we simply cannot drive true change. Access to sanitation is not only intricately tied to human dignity, but is also recognized by the United Nations as a human right. According to the UN, “lack of access to safe, sufficient and affordable water, sanitation and hygiene facilities has a devastating effect on the health, dignity and prosperity of billions of people, and has significant consequences for the realization of other human rights.” With more than four billion people still lacking access to safe sanitation globally, we recognize that it takes innovative solutions to successfully tackle a crisis of this proportion, but SOIL is fully committed.

“Sanitation, more than any other human rights issue, evokes the concept of human dignity. (Human Rights Watch 2017).” Many people around the world do not have a toilet or even a private space to manage natural bodily functions, including menstruation for women, and are forced to use public or semi-private spaces and defecate in the open, in a bucket or use a plastic bag. The shame and vulnerability that comes with lack of a dignified sanitation option is never eased or truly normalized.

Millions of people in Haiti lack access to private improved sanitation (private latrines, flush toilets or dry toilets). The impacts on public health, quality of life, natural ecosystems, and the environment are evident and costly. With a significant portion of the population living without a private option, the lack of safely managed sanitation is a crisis in Haiti.  SOIL’s sanitation intervention in Haiti is proving to be the most cost-effective safe sanitation solution for the communities we serve, and provides a myriad of other positive externalities: preserving water and energy resources, releasing less greenhouse gas emissions, sequestering carbon, increasing local food production, and creating dignified employment opportunities.

Access to safe and reliable sanitation is critical in furthering human rights and promoting sustainable futures around the world. Today and every day SOIL is proud to be doing this essential work to promote human dignity in the communities we serve in Haiti.

SOIL depends on individual donations from people like you to fund our lifesaving, earth-restoring sanitation services in Haiti. Please consider supporting SOIL today.

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