“World Toilet Day is about more than just a toilet, it is about allowing people to access their basic human rights.”

19th November 2018

It may seem obvious that we all need a toilet, but billions of people around the world still live without adequate toilet facilities. According to the UN, 4.5 billion people worldwide live without a safe toilet, and 892 million people still defecate in the open. In developing countries, more work needs to be done to improve sanitation facilities, so when ICS volunteer Amber arrived in the community of Msunjilile in Tanzania, she and her team got to work.

Amber said, “When I first arrived at the school in Msunjilile village, 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.”

One fifth of schools worldwide do not provide any toilet facilities, but Raleigh ICS volunteers are doing their bit to change this.

Raleigh volunteers construct toilet blocks on their projects in Tanzania

Amber said “Our team of volunteers built a brand-new toilet block for the students of Msunjilile School. This toilet block 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.”

Amber and her fellow ICS volunteers with their new toilet block

Amber’s project was not solely based on construction, but also aimed to improve the knowledge of the children in the community about the importance of sanitation and hygiene.

Amber said, “We taught lessons in the school each day, in order to provide the children with an array of information about various hygiene topics. In addition to educating the local children, we held regular “mobilisation meetings” with the wider community. 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. 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.”

A new toilet block standing in Msunjilie

“World Toilet Day is so incredibly important. 2.3 billion 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.”

This World Toilet Day Raleigh ICS volunteers, like Amber, are working on projects in Tanzania and Nepal which are improving access to toilet facilities in rural communities. Together, they are contributing to Sustainable Development Goal 6, helping to improve water and sanitation around the world. 

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