Cookie tracking notice
Are we allowed to crumble with cookies and anonymous tracking?

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site (so called session cookies), while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). We use the application Matomo and the external service etracker to analyze your behavior on our website anonymously. Because we value your privacy, we are here with asking your permission to use the following technologies. You can change your settings any time via this link or the menu item in footer menu. For more information visit our Data Policy

The hidden world of sanitation workers - Media briefing (in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish)

WaterAid, ILO, World Bank, WHO (2019)

Published in: 2019
Pages: 13

WaterAid, London, UK

WaterAid, ILO, World Bank, WHO

Uploaded by:
SuSanA Admin

Partner profile:


Every year, the human race produces over 350 million tonnes of poo – that’s enough to fill 140,000 Olympic swimming pools! Unless that human waste is properly dealt with, every single gram will pose a significant health risk to us and our planet.

Ensuring that our contact with human waste ends when we leave the toilet is one of the most important jobs in society, and yet around the world sanitation workers remain mostly unseen and unappreciated. To mark World Toilet Day and this year’s theme of ‘Leaving no one behind’, the International Labour Organization (ILO), WaterAid, the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) are highlighting the plight of sanitation workers as one of the most vulnerable groups in society.

These workers range from public or private employees with proper equipment, benefits and legal protection, to some of the most marginalised, poor and discriminated members of society. Despite providing an essential public service, an uncounted number of sanitation workers around the world work in conditions that are hazardous and stigmatising – violating both their dignity and basic human rights. Few countries in the developing world have any guidelines to protect these workers, leaving them exposed to a litany of health and safety issues. There are no global statistics, but in India alone between 2017 and late 2018, there was on average one death of a sanitation worker every five days in the country, according to official data. Other sources estimate three times as many, over three deaths every five days. Countless more suffer repeated infections and injury, and have their lives cut short by the everyday risks of the job.

French version: Le monde caché des agents d’assainissement - Note d’information à l’intention de médias

Spanish version: El mundo oculto de los trabajadores sanitarios - Informe de prensa

Portuguese version: O mundo oculto dos trabalhadores do saneamento - Comunicado de imprensa

Bibliographic information

WaterAid, ILO, World Bank, WHO (2019). The hidden world of sanitation workers - Media briefing (in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish). WaterAid, London, UK

Filter tags

East Asia & Pacific English French Import to Sanitation Workers Platform Journalists Portuguese Spanish Sub-Saharan Africa

Further readings


The hidden world of sanitation workers

Format: pdf file
Size: 3.63 MB

Le monde caché des agents d´assainissement

Format: pdf file
Size: 2.92 MB

El mundo oculto de los trabajadores sanitarios

Format: pdf file
Size: 3.74 MB

O mundo oculto dos trabalhadores do saneamento

Format: pdf file
Size: 2.93 MB

Share this page on    

Follow us on    

SuSanA Partners  currently 400 partners

Networks Circle


Latest SuSanA Blog Articles

  • 05-07-2024Lourdes Valenzuela:
    Brasilia June 2024: SIRWASH Dialogues: Public Policies for Economic Accessibility to Rural Water and Sanitation Services in the Context of Latin American and Caribbean Countries »
  • 11-06-2024 Ann Thomas:
    Nature Calls – why sanitation is the logical starting point for fighting climate change »
  • 07-05-2024Jeremy Kohlitz,Kaiea Ribanataake Awira,Ngaouea Neemia:
    Can Kiritimati become a model circular economy society? Water and sanitation as potential entry points »
  • 26-03-2024Alice Brandt ,Mascha Kaddori:
    Let’s get wild: Water, sanitation and hygiene at the human-wildlife interface »
  • 21-03-2024Tabeer Riaz:
    Empowering Young Women Water Professionals in South Asia: Leading the Wave of Change »
  • 12-03-2024Beauty Mkoba:
    Unlocking the potential of African Women in STEM through mentorship »
  • 08-03-2024Gloria Mariga :
    Mentorship empowers African women to lead environmental stewardship »

SuSanA Blog »

SuSanA newsletter

Stay informed about the activities of SuSanA and its partners. The SuSanA newsletter is sent out around four times per year. It contains information about news, events, new partners, projects, discussions and publications of the SuSanA network.

Subscribe to newsletter »




Resources and publications

Our library has more than 3,000 publications, factsheets, presentations, drawings etc. from many different organisations. It continues to grow thanks to the contributions from our partners.

Add item to library »

The three links below take you to special groups of items in the library for more convenient access:


The project database contains nearly 400 sanitation projects of many different organizations dealing with research, implementation, advocacy, capacity development etc. Advanced filtering functions and a global map are also available. Information on how and why this database was created is here.

People working for SuSanA partners can add their own projects through their partner profile page. You might need your SuSanA login upgraded for this purpose. Please contact us if you would like to add a project.

Trainings, conference and events materials

Missed important conferences or courses? Catch up by using their materials for self study. These materials have been kindly provided by SuSanA partners.

Shit flow diagrams, excreta flow diagrams (310 SFDs worldwide)

Shit flow diagrams (SFDs) help to visualize excreta management in urban settings. Access SFDs and more through the SFD Portal.

Emersan eCompendium

Humanitarian Sanitation Hub

Sanitation Workers Knowledge and Learning Hub




Discussion forum

Share knowledge, exchange experiences, discuss challenges, make announcements, ask questions and more. Hint: Your discussion forum login is the same as your SuSanA login. More about the forum's philosophy »

Integrated content

We are hosting content from some other communities of practice and information-sharing portals. This section also provides a link to SuSanA's Sanitation Wikipedia initiative.

Suggest content to add »

SuSanA partners

Not yet a SuSanA partner? Show your organisation's support to SuSanA's vision and engage in  knowledge sharing by becoming partners.

Apply to become a partner »

Individual membership

Register as an individual member of SuSanA free of charge. As a member you can interact with thousands of sanitation enthusiasts on the discussion forum.  You can also get engaged in one of our 13 working groups and our regional chapters. Our FAQs explain the benefits further.

By getting a SuSanA login you can fully participate in the SuSanA community!

Register as a member


Forgot your password?
Forgot your username?