Toilets change everything. Without toilets, cities cannot thrive. Water sources get dangerously polluted by fecal waste, children get sick and households cannot work. Without toilets, girls drop out of school when they start their periods.
There are currently 2.5 billion people living in cities around the world without access to a safe, clean toilet. The impact of this is huge: every year the global urban sanitation crisis results in increased healthcare costs, decreased income and reduced productivity totaling more than $200 billion.
Sanitation organisations are working hard to tackle the urban sanitation crisis. These organisations collect data as part of their operations, but this data is often of poor quality and is rarely analysed fully to produce useful insight. The global sector collects a lot of data but it does not record the location, type of toilet or the amount of waste in the same way. As a result, no one can curate data from a variety of resources to create an accurate, actionable baseline. The lack of data interoperability across the sector has led to costly duplication of effort with limited results. Too often, the same areas have been surveyed and the same, low quality data has been collected repeatedly in slightly different ways. This is unsustainable and wasteful in a sector with already limited resources. The resulting data gap is preventing the entire sanitation sector from getting toilets to people who need them most. The solution to this crisis requires information, collaboration and investment.We need better data. Data underpins accountability, transparency and participation.
By 2025 we want to transform how sanitation is provided for five million people. Our local Sanitation Data Hubs will enable sanitation providers to make data-driven decisions. Our global Sanitation Data Commission will then leverage the work of the Hubs to create a global urban sanitation data standard. These programmes will turn insight into action, ensure proper sanitation for all and improve the life chances for the most disadvantaged communities.