Drops of water on a spider webb
Source: Susanne Nilsson / Flickr

NOTE: Following the success of the Edit-a-thon, another Sanitation Wikipedia drive is being held in the run-up to World Toilet Day 2017.

“Wikipedia is the ‘go-to’ source of information for much of the world – the fifth most visited site on the Internet – so that’s why we want to upgrade sanitation information there,” says Esther Shaylor, Programme Adviser at Oxfam GB, who originated the SuSanA Edit-a-thon idea.

The SuSanA Wikipedia Edit-a-thon has a serious purpose. Lack of access to a decent, functioning toilet puts 40% of people on the planet at high risk of killer and chronic diseases, affecting school attendance and work productivity and perpetuating poverty. Such shortfalls in sanitation provision are silent killers that only rarely make headlines – for example when the Rio Olympics revealed the living conditions of the urban poor in Brazil and the world saw sailing and rowing competitions taking place in bays polluted by untreated waste.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 calls for everyone everywhere to have access to clean water and decent sanitation by 2030. SuSanA believes that we have the knowledge and the technology needed to achieve SDG 6, and make sanitation a cornerstone of sustainable development. The right sanitation systems not only promote health, equality and dignity but can also provide renewable energy and safe, cheap agricultural fertilizers.

“But we need to get this knowledge out there,” says Arno Rosemarin of SEI. “We are looking forward to seeing what committed people can accomplish when they put their minds and hands to work.”

While anyone can edit Wikipedia at any time, SuSanA is hoping to inspire a surge of activity, particularly on 19–21 March, with volunteers editing and improving existing Wikipedia articles, adding images and illustrations, creating new articles, and translating English articles into other languages. A “virtual workroom” will give volunteers a chance to chat and coordinate their work.

The SuSanA Wikipedia Edit-a-thon is part of a larger project to support the continued growth and development of SuSanA’s knowledge management services. Led by SEI and implemented by a consortium that includes GIZ, WaterAid and Oxfam GB, the project is funded by a $2.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a period of three years.

For more information contact: Elisabeth von Muench at elisabeth.muench@ostella.de