Huffpost Impact
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Rebecca Snavely Headshot

Everyone Poops: Kick Cholera & Create Renewable Energy in Congo

Posted: Updated:
Print
The john, the loo, the WC, the great white throne -- for as many loving nicknames with which we've labeled the toilet, we likely take ours for granted.  Yet, in this day and age of technology and TOTO toilets with heated seats, built-in bidets and push-button sounds to drown out the noise of nature, more than 2.6 billion people, approximately 40% of the world's population, don't have access to the most basic toilet. 

This isn't just a problem for tourist boards trying to turn travelers' gaze from locals pooping in ponds, streams and rivers, this is life and death.  "As a result (of open defecation), more than 2 million people -- including 1.5 million children -- die from complications of chronic diarrhea." (World's Toilet Crisis, Vanguard)

It isn't a sexy subject or one for the dinner table, but as the children's book teaches us, "Everyone Poops." But not everyone has access to or the education to understand the dire importance of a clean latrine.  That's why it's crucial that we raise funds to build a latrine in the DRC this month. 

This isn't just any latrine.  This would fill a gaping, 30 foot hole that was dug in eastern Congo, dug to build the Peace Market, a dream of Amani Mataboro's to provide a place of commerce and community near the border, where Congolese and Rwandans could come together and work alongside each other towards peace and  a stronger, healthier economy. 

The latrine will serve this area of 26 villages and up to 42,000 people. It also benefits villages from the Walungu territory, as well as some communities on the Rwandan side of the Ruzizi river. With $4,500 USD, the latrine can be up and running, and, if we raise $9,000, it can be built as an environmentally sustainable resource of renewable energy - methane biogas

"The market is the best site for a sanitary latrine, since it is a focal point for the local economy. Without action, it could become the breeding ground for a cholera epidemic, but now it will be a success case for demonstrating healthy practices," says Amani Mataboro, Executive Director of Action Kivu's partner, Action pour le Bien- être de la Femme et de l'Enfant au Kivu (ABFEK).

"There is an urgency to this action. Because of climate change, we are seeing signs of the rainy season starting sooner than ever before. If we do not act now, people will die, starting with children and the elderly. If we work together, we can prevent these deaths and build a healthier community."

1 in 4 children who die before their fifth birthday in Eastern Congo die of something entirely preventable: cholera and acute diarrhea.  Help us change that with a donation to a clean latrine and health education today.  Learn more here.

To learn more about the World's Toilet Crisis, watch the Vanguard video.  Warning: This is a documentary on feces, choose when to watch wisely. I made the mistake of watching right before breakfast. It's informative and inspirational, as you watch communities take control of their health, well-being and futures.

(Photos: Everyone Poops, Amazon.com, latrine being dug at the Peace Market, newly built Peace Market, Opening Day Celebration, courtesy ActionKivu.org)