Nov. 19 marks the second annual observance of World Toilet Day, which seeks to raise awareness of the struggle that 2.6 billion face daily without access to proper, clean sanitation. Created by the World Toilet Organization, this year's campaign features some big names like Bill Gates and actor Matt Damon, as well as participating groups like Acumen, ONE, and Water for People.
The humorously titled "Talk Sh*t All Week" campaign highlights some depressing facts regarding global health (i.e., Children in poor environments can carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time.) and features Damon in some PSA shorts urging people to care. "More people have a mobile phone than a toilet," he says in one. "Let's cut the sh*t."
Damon, 41, is the co-founder of Water.org, which seeks to provide clean drinking water and sanitation to those living in the developing world. He's a fierce advocate for the cause, traveling to areas in crisis and appearing in countless videos urging donations and support to help make a difference. "This is a challenge worthy of the next global movement," he recently wrote on The Huffington Post. "Similar to what was needed to sound the alarm around the fight against HIV/AIDS."
The PepsiCo Foundation agrees — and recently gave $8 million, the largest grant in its 50-year history, to help expand Water.org's WaterCredit micro-finance program. It's estimated that by 2016, more than 800,000 people will benefit from the program.
“There will never be enough charity in the world to solve this problem. What we need to do is double down on smart solutions like WaterCredit which can rapidly scale safe water and sanitation access for families that are in desperate need right now,” said Damon. “In the U.S., we have the luxury to debate and plan for water shortages and investments in our infrastructure. For billions, this is a daily nightmare and fight for survival. It’s visionary partners like the PepsiCo Foundation that recognize that and I hope their example inspires others to follow suit.”
For World Toilet Day, Water.org is encouraging people to tweet about the campaign and use the #talksh*t hashtag to show their support. You can also donate your Facebook and Twitter status updates by allowing the Talk Sh*t campaign to post facts and information about the sanitation crisis.
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