Having a toilet equals a better chance of education, dignity, safety, status and more – wherever you are in the world.
WSUP’s My Toilet exhibition aims to draw attention to the sanitation challenges faced by women and girls across the world, and in early May we took the exhibition to Barcelona to allow more people to experience and learn from this photography showcase.
The exhibition, at the Roca Barcelona Gallery, was organised by the We Are Water Foundation and features photographs taken by Panos Pictures of women and girls and their toilets from every continent. Although the type of toilet changes from country to country, the impacts show recurring themes.
Luria, 12, is a Grade 7 pupil at Maguiguana Primary School in Maputo, Mozambique. Luria was sent to Maputo to live with her uncle so that she could attend school there. “I try not to use the toilet at school,” she says. “It’s really bad.” Luria’s school is set to benefit from new toilet facilities as part of the WSUP programme in Mozambique.
In Ghana, Zenabu, 83, has lived in Kumasi without a toilet for 50 years. “I don’t like to go to the toilet at night because of the dark, and the place is dirty,” she says. “I’m very happy that I’m finally getting a toilet in my house. I will be safe using it at night.” Through a WSUP-supported initiative, a flush toilet will be installed at Zenabu’s home.
WSUP works to ensure that all of its projects are culturally sensitive and context-specific and therefore sustainable in the long term. To achieve this kind of systemic change, governments, private sector operators, utilities and communities must all be involved in solution design and implementation.
At the launch event in Barcelona, Georges Mikhael, WSUP Head of Sanitation, asked attendees to think about what they can do to help.
“Although some of the situations these women experience can be challenging to face, this feeling should drive us to act and pay our part in ending the global water crisis,” he said.
The We Are Water Foundation, which organised the exhibition, has two fundamental objectives: firstly, to raise awareness and encourage public opinion and institutions to reflect seriously on the need to create a new culture of water that allows for the fair and sustainable management of water resources around the world; and secondly, to implement all kinds of different actions to mitigate the negative effects that a lack of adequate water resources has on so many millions of people.
The exhibition will run until 30 July 2016 and is free to attend. WSUP would like to thank the We Are Water Foundation and Roca Barcelona Gallery for giving more people the opportunity to view this exhibition and reflect on and learn from the women it features.