This blog post is a response to the video posted by Matt Damon, co-founder of water.org, where he announces a toilet strike to raise awareness for the water crisis. It was first published on WASH Finance, where it has started a lively discussion.
Published on: 15/01/2014
I enjoyed your video on water.org about going on a toilet strike. But I'd like to raise just a small point about the costs you mention.
It is great that you are so passionate about realising access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene for all. And that you bring some humour into our sometimes dull sector.
But in your video you mention that it costs US$25 to provide a person with sanitation for life. This is not true. Over the past four years IRC’s WASHCost project in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Andhra Pradesh (India) and Mozambique has collected, validated and analysed cost and service level information for water, sanitation and hygiene. Based on this research we know that for US$ 25 you can construct a traditional pit latrine with an impermeable slab which provides a basic service. In order to sustain the service provided by that traditional pit latrine it costs between US$ 1.5 and US$ 4 per person per year – so to provide sanitation for life means finding that US$ 1.5-4 every year …. for life. If you do not know how, or by whom, these recurrent costs will be financed, it is very likely that the latrine you are constructing today will break down or not be used within two to three years, wasting your investment.
To provide sanitation for life means finding US$1.5 - US$4 per person per year... for life.
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Hope to hear from you soon,
IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre
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