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Published:August 4th, 2014 16:37 EST

India Building Millions of Toilets for Poor, But They Won't Use Them!

By Robert Paul Reyes

"Sunita`s family in the north Indian village of Mukimpur were given their first toilet in February, one of millions being installed by the government to combat disease. She can`t remember the last time anyone used it.


Sunita`s view reveals one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s biggest challenges in combating the world`s biggest sanitation problem, one that costs India 600,000 lives annually from diarrhea and exposes a third of the nation`s women to the risk of rape or sexual assault. With no toilets for half the population, Modi promised to build 5.3 million latrines by the end of his first 100 days in office -- one a second until Aug. 31, according to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Without education, they`ll make little difference."


You can lead a horse to water, but you can`t make it drink.

You can build a toilet for an Indian, but you can`t make him use it. They`d rather squat in an open field, spreading disease and misery.

The lack of toilets isn`t just a sanitation and health issue, for women it`s also a personal safety issue. Heading to the fields alone to take a dump raises the risk of sexual assault. Many women have been raped, and a few also killed, when they went to defecate outdoors.

Build it and they will come " not so much in India. Building toilets for the impoverished citizens of India is a good idea, but they must also be taught basic sanitation facts.

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