November 19th is World Toilet Day, a holiday created by the World Toilet Organization to promote basic sanitation in developing countries:

So central are flush toilets to our lives that we easily forget how many people do without them, or any other kind of effective sanitation either. Nobody seems to keep toilet statistics per se, but the World Health Organization and UNICEF monitor access to what is called “improved sanitation” — which they reckon 2.5 billion people live without.

Contrary to what the term appears to imply, “it doesn’t mean anything indoors and it doesn’t mean water. It certainly doesn’t mean flushable toilets,” says Patricia Dandonoli, the president of WaterAID America, an organization that works to provide sanitation in developing countries. It does mean a private, covered pit latrine — which Dandonoli stresses is “several steps up the sanitation ladder” from open defecation.