World Toilet Day: How FINCA is Accelerating Change

Every November 19th we celebrate World Toilet Day to inspire the world to take action against the global sanitation crisis. Although it was originally coined by the World Toilet Organization in 2001, the United Nations (UN) deemed it an official international observance day in 2013 with the goal of engaging the world in the rising crisis. With the UN’s 15-year plan coming to a close in just seven years, the world needs to work almost five times faster to meet SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.

As of 2023, there are still 3.5 billion people living without safe toilets and 419 million people practicing open defecation. In developing countries, such as Kenya, 95 percent of fecal sludge is disposed of without treatment. In these areas, a devastating 1,000 children under five years old die every single day due to the spread of disease from poor sanitary facilities. The lack of proper toilets gives the opportunity for the contamination of not only drinking water but food as well. Through something as simple as a toilet and standard sanitary practices, thousands of lives could be saved.

So what can we do about this?

Invest in Sustainable Solutions

Since 2017, FINCA has partnered with social enterprises around the world to address the multifaceted and complex issue of poverty. Each and every factor of poverty requires relentless effort, and addressing the sanitation crisis is no different. This is why FINCA continues to support and invest in social enterprises like Sanivation.

Sanivation utilizes an innovative waste management process to mitigate the global sanitation crisis. They do this by partnering with local Kenyan governments to collect biomass waste and fecal sludge from community pit latrines. They then treat this waste and turn it into biomass fuel product called “Superlogs.” This economically and environmentally sustainable product provides an alternative to the typical less effective and harmful firewood. Furthermore, by removing and treating latrine waste, the risk of water contamination and spread of diarrheal disease diminishes immensely. This waste-to-value process is accelerating change by reducing diarrheal disease by 47% per 50 people served. Additionally, each ton of Superlogs saves 22 trees and offsets two tons of CO2 emissions.

Recently, Sanivation partnered with the government of Kilifi to deploy a city wide inclusive sanitation plan throughout Malindi, Kenya. Through this partnership, Sanivation is working to ensure sustainable waste management, create jobs, support the economy, and improve residents’ health by making Malindi the cleanest town in Kenya.

Sanivation employee in front of charcoal briquettes.
Sanivation employee in front of treated fecal waste.

Beyond World Toilet Day

Through investing in social enterprises like Sanivation, we move one step closer to fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals and making a lasting impact on the global sanitation crisis. However, if the world continues at the current progress rate, 3 billion people will still be living without safe toilets in 2030. This means taking action now–on World Toilet Day and everyday–by investing in sustainable solutions to reach a world of clean and safe sanitation facilities for all.