How can politics contribute to improving the sanitary situation at schools – nationally and internationally?
In the morning of 14th February 2019, 8 German Parliament delegates, as well as employees of member’s offices such as the CDU, SPD Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, FDP and AFD met with school and parent representatives, scientists and representatives of local authorities, the private sector, the GIZ (Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit) and civic-society organisations to discuss this issue. The patrons Frank Heinrich (MP) and Ottmar von Holtz (MP), as well as the German Toilet Organization had called out for and hosted the event. The exchange of knowledge and opinions about international challenges was commented by Norbert Barthle, the parliamentary undersecretary of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
We were happy to see that many members of the parliament declared their interest in promoting our school competition “Toiletten Machen Schule” in their constituencies. The politicians emphasised the importance of the GTO in calling public attention to the topic and thereby breaking the toilet taboo. A need for further discourse on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in relevant parliamentary committees was identified as the consequences and costs resulting from bad sanitary provisions are immense.
Dr Gebel from the Institute of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Bonn highlighted that handwashing with soap had a similar effect on protection infection as vaccinations. He furthermore emphasized the relevance of improvements of general hygiene in foreign countries for Germany. For example, multi-resistant bacteria from Africa and Asia that are increasingly transmitted due to unhygienic conditions often reach Germany because of enhanced global mobility. Scientists are expecting these conditions to cause approximately 400.000 deaths only in Europe in 2050.
The GTO and the GIZ are jointly carrying out the competition “Toilets Making the Grade” that aims at the improvement of sanitary conditions at schools abroad.
Find out more about “Toilets Making the Grade” in Uganda and Pakistan here.
For more information on “Toiletten machen Schule”, click here.