It’s more than just a toilet, it’s access to basic human rights

18th November 2019

According to the UN, 4.2 billion people worldwide live without safely managed sanitation - that's half the world's population! - and 673 million people still defecate in the open. Raleigh ICS alumni Amber worked on a toilet building project in rural Tanzania. She now explains more about her project and its importance on World Toilet Day.

World Toilet Day is so incredibly important. Billions of people do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines. Basic toilet facilities are about more than comfort. They prevent disease, they promote good health, they provide education, they provide freedom and they provide a life. World Toilet Day is about more than a toilet, it is about allowing people to access their basic human rights.

When I first arrived at the school in Msunjilile village in Tanzania for my project as a Raleigh volunteer, I realised how limited the toilet and sanitation facilities were. The school welcomed over five hundred students a day, but they only had six latrines. These latrines were not only falling apart, but they had no doors, no hand washing facilities, water was not being provided for washing away waste and the female students had no access to menstrual hygiene facilities. The toilet facilities were neglected and seen as unimportant.

A new toilet block built by volunteers in Msunjilile village in Tanzania

Our team of volunteers built a brand-new toilet block for the students of Msunjilile School which contained a disabled toilet, hand washing facilities and a menstrual hygiene room for the female students.

Alongside constructing the toilet block, we educated the community across all areas of water, sanitation and hygiene. We taught lessons in the school each day, in order to provide the children with an array of information about various hygiene topics. We also held regular “mobilisation meetings” with the wider community, as it was important for us to educate the whole community on the importance of clean water and sanitation so that the project would be sustainable for the future.

Sharing education around best hygiene and sanitation practices

The education, resources and facilities that we have built will enable the community to educate the following generations and continue towards a positive and sustainable development.

Completing the project and leaving my host family was an overwhelming experience. I felt happy to be leaving a community, who had welcomed me so kindly into their lives, with a long lasting and sustainable set of tools to improve health and sanitation facilities.


If life were a race, how much of a head start would you have because of your toilet privilege? Play the game and find out what your toilet privilege is compared to people around the world.


If you are passionate about a global issue and want to write for the Raleigh blog, get in touch at alumni@raleighinternational.org 

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