nonprofit

It's World Toilet Day

Let me start by offering you all a Happy World Toilet Day! Happier, if you have access to a toilet… happiest if you’re reading this while sitting on your fully accessible toilet.

I’ll begin by paying my respects:

World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. 

The toilet, dubbed by The Economist Magazine as the world’s most useful invention, has saved billions of people from death and disease. Despite this, 892 million people are still subject to open defecation and the diseases that come with it. I say subject to because open defecation is not a choice that populations in countries such as India, Nepal and Kenya can make. Millions of people are forcefully subjected to live a life of poor sanitation and hygiene, simply due to lack of resources. Thankfully, organizations such as UNICEF, the UN and WHO are tackling this crisis with initiatives such as WASH to ensure that everyone has access to a toilet by the year 2030. Achieving this goal is essential to eradicating poverty, thereby making this world a safer, cleaner and happier place to live. 

Enter Manavta…

For those we haven’t had the pleasure to meet, we’re Manavta, a non-profit organization that builds sanitation facilities at rural schools in Nepal. Our name, Manavta, means Humanity. Our journey began when we fell in love with Nepal and its people. We did our research and realized that more than half of the population doesn’t have access to a toilet. Even more disconcerting is that the lack of sanitation facilities in rural communities forces girls who start menstruating, to abandon educational opportunities, often leaving them trapped in a cycle of poverty. We’ve joined forces with fellow #ShitDisturbers and are looking to change the world, one toilet at a time. Through sustainable and innovative sanitation systems, we are not only looking to save the planet but humanity along with it. Our philosophy is to educate and empower the communities affected by this crisis so that together, we can help millions enjoy the same freedoms that we do.

For those of you enjoying this read on the toilet, remain seated a little while longer to spread this shit.

Road to Jholunge

Update from the Field

Namaste from Nepal! To say the least our first few months back, have been eye opening. We have spent some time connecting with local NGOs, district public officials and learning about the current WASH situation. While scoping out various districts, we connected with local NGO Educating Nepal and have had the opportunity to spend time in a small village located in the district of Sindhupalchowk, named Jholunge (jho-loon-ge).

Nestled in the valley of Maghi Gaon, the village is home to some of the best fishermen in Nepal. Through a somewhat treacherous road, the village can be reached within 5 hours by local bus. However, as the current border blockage with India continues to make headlines, traveling has been quite the task especially with a lack of fuel and transportation.

Starting this December, Manavta will be building urine diversion toilets for three families and working alongside the community, students of Suryoda Primary School and artists from Kathmandu, to spread the good word about stopping open defecation. As many of you may know, Sindhupalchowk is also the epicenter of the earthquake and has been the site of much of the destruction that was witnessed in the media. Jholunge in total lost 25 members of their community and are currently rebuilding their homes, schools and lives. Their story is something I will come to learn while I spend the next few months living with them. We are so grateful to be able to work with this community and are equally heartfelt by the support our fans have shown us during the past few years leading up to this project. 

We are set to depart next week and I encourage you to keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (links at the very bottom of the page) to learn more about the progress and the community we are working with. If you would like to get involved with our current operations you can connect with us on social media or at toilets@manavtaproject.org, we would love to hear from you!

This week's ThankBack is focused on the people who continue to help us spread the word about the global sanitation crisis and our approach to ending it!

 

OUR FUNDRAISING TEAM

A huge shout out to everyone who helped make our first annual #GiveAShit fundraiser in Calgary a success! Special props and thanks to Zarah Virani, Naznin Daya, Gurjot Bhullar,  Varshu Karumuri, Varnit Karumuri, Saima Kassam, Maggie Dawson, Sophia Jaffer, Adam Getchaw, Charlotte Loeppky, Shez Rajan, Malika Karim, Faizal Somji, Alyssa Hasham, Spyder and the whole team at Blind Monk Pub. We had an amazing turnout and raised just over $1200, all of which will go towards our next projects in Nepal (gearing up in two short months!). Thanks to everyone who came out, were looking forward to seeing you again. 

ADVISORY BOARD

From building our first toilets to our very first Facebook post, we have learned a great deal about the non profit industry over the past three years. We would like to acknowledge individuals and organizations who are helping Manavta reach new heights. From working on our Canadian charitable registration to connecting us to professionals around the world, we feel deeply grateful towards our advisors. Huge thanks to Sterling Lawrence from Lawrence Law, Justin Dharamdial from Osler Law and Hafiz Mitha of Vivametrica. 

Beyond The Toilet

Beyond The Toilet

The 21st Canadian Conference on Global Health was held in Ottawa this past week. The hot topic was sanitation, with emphasis on collaborative health measures like maternal health and malnutrition. Toilets play a huge role in decreasing maternal mortality because expecting mothers will be less exposed to diseases anemia and diarrhea. When sanitation is available people learn the importance of hand washing, infant mortality can be decreased by more than 1/3. WASH workshops are crucial for anyone working in our industry.

How My Life Went to Shit (in a good way)

How My Life Went to Shit (in a good way)

Running a nonprofit is hard, really hard. Nobody gets into this line of work because it's easy or pays well. For people like those on our team, we do this because we feel it's what we have to. The following is the story of how Manavta came to be, and why.

When Nabeel and I were living in Nepal, we saw things that boggled our minds. How can there be so much beauty in a place so rife with poverty and squalor? Diarrhea is something we knew to be mildly unpleasant, something we had only experienced after eating bad seafood or binging on lactose. We certainly did now know it to be something that kills 1.5 MILLION children each year (UNICEF, 2009). Together with pneumonia, the two are responsible for more than 40% of all child deaths around the world (according to the same UNICEF report). We saw women and girls marginalized to the point of forfeiting their educations: let me explain...