Agence France-Presse

UNICEF's 'Poo2Loo' campaign targets open defecation in India with weird games, videos, shitty puns, and a turd mascot

Don't worry, you're not having a bad trip. What you're seeing here is exactly what you think you're seeing: a person in costume dressed as a giant pile of shit.

This turd mascot is the anti-hero of UNICEF's new campaign, 'Poo2Loo,' which, since the end of 2013, has targeted the widespread practice of open defecation and public waste dumping in India.

It's a public health crisis, according to UNICEF, and the facts are startling.

- 620 million people in India defecate in the open. Only half the population uses toilets.

- Open defecation produces an average of 143 million pounds of waste per day.

- 48 percent of Indian children suffer from malnutrition. Leading causes are diarrhea and worms associated with microbial contamination of drinking water.

- 28 million school children lack access to a toilet in school.

- Women and girls often avoid defecating until nighttime to avoid shame and possible assault. Only 60 percent of schools have separate toilet facilities for schools, and lack of privacy or lack of separate facilities sometimes causes girls to drop out.

These are all serious problems for a nation with over 1.2 billion people. UNICEF's approach in the 'Poop2Loo' campaign is a bit less serious. But maybe that's just what's needed to get people talking about poop.

The website is full of weird media and terrible puns.

You can play "Toilet Trek," a low-tech video game.


The site's videos are the real highlights, though.

You've got live-action shorts starring our favorite turd mascot, whose M.O. is harassing people.

The animated shorts are sublime.

There's "A Stinky Symphony."

"Poo Highway."

And the obvious standout, "Poo Party," which features a catchy song and ends with animated turds climbing into a giant, colorful, brightly lit toilet.

It will be interesting to see whether the "Poop2Loo" campaign turns out to be effective, or whether it will just be paternalistic and insane.

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