The War on Poop is an ugly one, but one that is important to spotlight. In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II, mostly due to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, or insufficient hygiene. 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under the age of five in developing countries. Toilet Hackers was formed to change these statistics, stressing that clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene are basic human rights.
Toilet Hackers presents a three-pronged approach to fight this crisis. They are enlisting a community of leaders and builders to develop breakthrough innovations with Toilet Hackers’ first Sanitation Hackathon on December 1-2, 2012, which will take place in 14 US cities and 10 international locations. They are also launching a grassroots advocacy campaign to raise awareness about the world’s toilet crisis. Lastly, they are raising money. Donations to Toilet Hackers, whether from individuals or corporations, directly fund life-saving sanitation and hygiene programs.
John Kluge says, “Although the majority of Toilet Hackers’ work is focused on international development, the destruction from Hurricane Sandy highlighted our mission. For the first time many people, including our friends and neighbors in New York and New Jersey, experienced life without a running toilet.” He continues, “Due to the in-depth media coverage of Hurricane Sandy, people in the US are just realizing how hard it is to manage without a toilet. Then consider that nearly 40% of the world’s population is without proper sanitation; the global nature of this problem feels more urgent. The Sanitation Hackathon will create disruptive methods to combat this.”
Kluge and Lindenmayer have recruited top talent to work with them and also have found important and willing partners: World Bank's Water Policy and Information & Communications Technology units in partnership with Eirene, Random Hacks of Kindness (http://www.rhok.org/
Toilet Hackers is a global partner of the December 1-2 Sanitation Hackathon and is coordinating the North American sites with Random Hacks of Kindness and Angel Hack. Site locations include New York, NY; Hartford, CT; San Francisco, CA; Toronto and Vancouver, CA; and Washington, DC. For additional North American cities, hackathon locations and registration, please visit www.toilethackers.org. For details on the World Bank-hosted international locations please visit www.sanitationhackathon.org
According to Lindenmayer, “Toilet Hackers intends to launch subsequent hackathons that address behavioral change, design and reverse hacking, which is when developing countries create solutions for developed countries, particularly in areas like infrastructure where they are most likely to leapfrog us.”
Toilet Hackers is a not-for-profit joint program of Giving Water, a 501(c)3 charity, and Eirene, a for-purpose LLC, and is operated entirely by volunteers and 100% of online donations directly fund the programs. In addition to the website, please see our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/
Kristin Moses Murray
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