Approximately 2.4 billion people, or one-third of the world’s population, still lacks access to a clean toilet.
On World Toilet Day — November 19 — the nonprofit WaterAid wants to make that fact known, and give younger generations a way to pitch in.
Enter WaterAid’s new app: WaterAid Emoji Creator, the anchor of its new #giveashit campaign.
The free iPhone app allows people to create custom poop emoji by mixing dozens of eyes, mouths, hairstyles, and accessories, before sharing their creations on social media. Once they finalise their poop emoji, users are prompted to make a donation to WaterAid in the fight against the global sanitation crisis.
A number of popular YouTube stars have already created their own poop emoji doppelgänger, including Margaret Cho, Grace Helbig, SciShow, Lily Singh, and Wil Wheaton.
The goal is to motivate younger generations, whose rates of charitable donation have yet to catch up to their stated concern for social causes.
“Sanitation is a topic that’s often hard for people to talk about,” Prabasi tells Tech Insider. “Many people in the US have no idea that millions of women and girls endure harassment and attacks when they have no place safe to go to the bathroom, or that one child dies every two minutes from diarrheal diseases directly linked to the lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene.”
On World Toilet Day, WaterAid wants people to feel like they can contribute to this massive problem even if they might not be wealthy philanthropists.
“By creating and sharing custom poop emojis using WaterAid’s new #giveashit app, we hope that people will gain a greater awareness of these issues, and join us in the fight for safe sanitation for everyone,” Prabasi says.
Even after World Toilet Day is over, users can save their custom emoji to their smartphone’s keyboard for later use.
WaterAid’s goal mirrors the United Nations’ goal: to bring safe sanitation to the entire world by 2030. That means eliminating the threat of bacterial infections due to unclean surfaces and providing billions of people with access to clean water.
Other solutions include simple handwashing policies that cut down on the spread of harmful bacteria, a practice that has taken off in American hospitals.
To keep the conversation going, WaterAid is hosting a “Shit Show” on November 20-22 at New York City’s Thierry Goldberg Gallery. Dozens of artists will feature their work, just as countless others will share their own creations in the digital galleries of Facebook and Twitter.
“Once you see the ripple effect that something as simple as a toilet has on people’s lives,” Prabasi says, “it’s very easy to see how your donation can have a tremendous impact on the world around us.”