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Potty talk is serious when there’s nowhere to go

Christian World Service is challenging young people in New Zealand churches to make a move on toilets in an effort to make poor people’s lives healthier and longer.

CWS is collecting photos to go with the petition calling on the NZ Government to increase foreign aid to ensure that more people have access to safe toilets.

“Most of us take toilets for granted,” says CWS youth and schools coordinator Liz Whitehead, “but this is not so in developing countries. The lack of toilet facilities makes people sick and leads to death. I am asking young people to do something that will change the world for the better.”

CWS is collecting signatures for its photo petition calling on the New Zealand government to spend more on aid to ensure more people have access to safe, adequate toilets. So far 600 photos were collected at the Parachute music festival. They show supporters sitting on the toilet and were taken for the petition. Now more photos are needed.

Liz is keen to collect more photos of young people who support CWS’s call for the government to spend more money on aid to help improve global sanitation.

Photos can be sent to CWS before May 31 at PO Box 22 652, Christchurch 8142. The final photo petition will be presented to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters later this year.

The focus has been chosen because the United Nations has declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation in an effort to create more action on toilets. According to the UN some 2.6 billion people, nearly half the world’s population lack access to latrines or basic sanitation. The long term effects of this are enormous as 1.5 million children dye each year because of poor sanitation and 443 million school days lost because of water related diseases.

The lack of sanitation also undermines community development. For example many United Nations are focusing on efforts to increase school enrolments but when there is one toilet for the whole school and no privacy for girls, they will drop out rather than face the embarrassment of having nowhere to go.

The UN says that every dollar spent on improving sanitation contributes another $7 economic benefit to the community.

CWS has produced a number of resources on sanitation. For a free copy of Youth Topics: Engaged? or other educational resources contact youth@cws.org.nz. CWS has worship resources available for those brave enough to raise the topic in church. They can be downloaded from: www.cws.org.nz or posted on request: phone 0800 74 73 72.