It’s a fact: over 70% of Nigerian citizens lack access to clean water and sanitation. Shockingly, this means that many Nigerians have no choice but to defecate in the open.

Dignity should not be a luxury — and for girls and women, this issue has a disproportionate impact. Using the bush as a toilet leaves girls and women afraid for their safety, exposing them to risk of sexual harassment or assault. Young girls can miss out on their education when their schools lack safe toilets. And horrifically, deadly illnesses like diarrhea are spread from contaminated water claiming more children’s lives every year than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.

In 2018, over 145,000 actions were taken by Global Citizens, calling on the government to take a stand. The Nigerian Federal Government is prepared to tackle this, and has announced an official state of emergency. But achieving open defecation free status throughout Nigeria is not something they can not do alone. Nigeria’s State Governors must step up the funding to make this possible —  and empower their communities to achieve open defecation free status by 2025 or sooner.

Let’s ensure no one is left behind. Sign your name to a letter to Nigerian State Governors and together we can put an end to open defecation.