Toilets change everything. Without them girls drop out of school when they start their periods, children get sick, people cannot work and communities get dangerously polluted. Cities cannot thrive without toilets.
Today there are currently 2.5 billion people living in cities around the world without access to a safe, clean toilet. The sanitation crisis is not just a poverty issue; it is a justice issue. In the lifetime of our team, there has been no change in the number of people without access to a safe, clean toilet.
The solution to this crisis requires information, collaboration and targeted investment. This is impossible without data that can be mapped.
In 2016, we connected with more than 100 organisations to understand how data was being used by the sector. We found that a lack of quality data had made it impossible for the sector to effectively prioritise areas for investment and track its progress in delivering vital sanitation services for low income communities. The World Bank validated our research when it concluded in 2017 that the allocation of resources across the sanitation sector was ineffective.
To date, Gather has pioneered several geospatial projects to bridge this data gap. We have trained local enumerators to collect data in Kenya, launched a demo of an online platform for global data sharing, and hosted the world’s first data dive for urban sanitation for Zambia.
By 2020 we want to be working in four countries, transforming the way that sanitation is provided for five million people across entire cities. In 2019 we plan to launch our first city data hub in Antananarivo, Madagascar and then in Lusaka, Zambia, in Nakuru, Kenya and in Kumasi, Ghana. And after that? Our goal is to help to transform the lives of 15 million people in eight emerging cities around the world.