Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Water & Sanitation

Use a toilet! How peer pressure is key to ending public poop

Let’s play a game. Close your eyes, and think of an object that makes you feel proud and dignified.

Were you thinking of a toilet?

If you were living in India, that may have been the case. Toilets are becoming an unusual status symbol throughout the country due to the Indian government’s Total Sanitation Campaign.

Defecating openly in fields and public spaces is a cultural norm in India despite the fact that toilets are affordable to the majority of the population. So changing behavior is key. Particularly when 10% of deaths in India are caused by a lack of sanitation. The Total Sanitation Campaign is aimed at getting the population on board with toilet usage.

The campaign utilizes “No toilet no pride” signs and trained sanitation officials to, put it bluntly, peer pressure the Indian public into installing toilets at home. So peer pressure can have a positive outlet.

If you've never had a stranger lecture you about poop, and you feel like you’re missing out, check out the video above at 2:15 and 3:00 (and then read more about the connection between toilets and the food you eat here.)

People who use toilets are less likely to get sick and spread communicable diseases, which makes going to work and getting an education a whole lot easier for everyone in the community. India still has a long way to go before toilets are universally accepted, but this video demonstrates how peer pressure may be the key to ending open defecation and elevating public health.

And you can get in on the (positive) peer pressure, and help the World Bank pressure the world into ending open defecation by sending the tweet in TAKE ACTION NOW.