There is a crisis happening in the world, and it isn’t the spread of Bieber Fever.
Check out the numbers: around the world, 2.4 billion people lack access to sanitation systems, 780 million still struggle to find clean water, and 2,200 children die of preventable, diarrheal diseases every single day.
These numbers are staggering and constitute the classification of sanitation worldwide as not only a social injustice, but a humanitarian disaster. And we have to act now.
Asepsis, an organization “that fights the sanitation crisis from every angle,” has set out to raise awareness and develop better solutions for affected communities. This past week, Asepsis launched the #ComingClean Challenge, a photo competition asking photographers to submit one photo that tells the story of a social injustice.
The winner of this competition– as decided by a panel of judges— will be able to accompany Asepsis on an all expenses paid trip to Odisha, India.
Why? Because Asepsis is committed to redefining the way we see the sanitation crisis. Like social injustices that plague communities around the world, it is in our refusal to talk about sanitation and keep it hidden from the public discourse that the greatest harm is done.
The #ComingClean Challenge is meant to change this phenomenon by not only finding a photographer to document the sanitation crisis, but by also shining a light on social injustices that exist around the world.
For more information on the #ComingClean Challenge, please visit our website and follow us @asepsis_inc on Twitter and Instagram!
Asepsis is a non-profit comprised of current university students and recent graduates committed to solving this problem. While they got their start developing a model for a low-cost, waterless squat toilets for urban slums that could be coupled with a biogas component to create sustainable energy from waste, their mission has since expanded. It is when the cofounders were able to go to Nicaragua and India that they realized the extent of the sanitation crisis and the need for quick, decisive action.
Although many organizations are working on the front lines of the sanitation crisis with innovative solutions and close ties to the communities they work with, they lack the support and awareness they need to make a bigger, lasting difference. One of these organizations is ASHA, a grassroots organization working hand-in-hand with economically and socially marginalized villages in Odisha, India.
Touched by the work they were doing, Asepsis decided to team up with them for the construction of 231 toilets for 231 families in Odisha; an effort they will be crowd-funding for starting on November 19th, World Toilet Day.
But it doesn’t stop with a toilet because the sanitation crisis is not just about toilets. It’s about the men, women, and children who live in appalling conditions that degrade the sense of human decency and respect we have in our lives. It’s about the diseases that ravage communities because they don’t have basic infrastructure needed to prevent them. It’s about neglect and the refusal to acknowledge this reality.
But it’s in hearing their stories, in understanding the depth and importance of addressing this social injustice, that change can come. This is a belief Asepsis holds dear. And it’s the reason why we want you to join us in #ComingClean.