Meet Mr. Poo, UNICEF's new mascot in anti-public defecation campaign
Angela Mulholland, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, April 22, 2014 11:06AM EDT
A four-minute video of piles of poo dancing to a techno dance beat doesn’t sound like the stuff of great entertainment, but UNICEF India is hoping it could be the stuff of a great social media campaign.
The charity recently released an animated music video of turds terrorizing Indians with clouds of flies and stench in an effort to raise awareness about a public health threat that few Indians choose to discuss: public defecation.
India is home to the world’s largest population of people who defecate in the open. About half the country’s population -- 620 million people -- don’t regularly use toilets, the charity says, answering the call of nature wherever they are.
Twenty years ago, the problem was even worse, when 75 per cent of the country’s population regularly defecated in the open. But the country has set a goal of getting 100 per cent of the population regularly using toilets and disposing of infant waste in sanitary ways.
Open defecation poses a serious public health problem, since fecal bacteria can enter water supplies and cause a host of diarrheal diseases, polio, hepatitis A, and other illnesses.
Many Indians don’t have access to toilets and water facilities. But the country also suffers from a lack of awareness about sanitation, after centuries of acceptance of open defecation.
So Unicef India enlisted the help of composer Shrikanth Sriram, who wrote the theme for the movie “The Life of Pi.” The result is “Poo Party,” an undeniably catchy techno dance number punctuated by a chorus of “Take your poo-oo to the loo-oo!”
There’s also an online game and a mobile app in which users can let a character named “Poo Man” wreak havoc on the streets of New Delhi, Mumbai or other Indian cities.
In the music video, the people terrorized by the dancing poo work together to build a giant, neon-lit toilet, into which they lure the turds before flushing them away, once and for all.
It’s not unlike what UNICEF would like to see done to the problem of open defecation.