World Toilet Day – Wednesday 19th November – join us and get involved

14th November 2014

trekdivecomp

It’s that time of the day and you need to go for a wee and a poo. Where are you going to go? World Toilet Day – Wednesday 19th November 2014 - is a day to think about this very question. For many millions of people around the world who don’t have an accessible toilet, it’s a dilemma they have to confront each day. So, if you have somewhere hygienic to go today, the next question is, what can you do to help those who don’t? If you can, why not get involved and do something creative or fun on World Toilet Day? Stuck on what to do? Click on these links for some great ideas: UN World Toilet Day ideas    WaterAid World Toilet Day ideas 

In this blog, we say a little more about why World Toilet Day should be a special date for your calendar, and how the work our brilliant volunteers have been doing contributes to this.

If you live somewhere with a nice toilet, take a moment to imagine what you would do if things were different.

In Tanzania, it is very unlikely that you will have a flush toilet, unless you are well off and live in a city. If you are fortunate, you will have a hygienic pit latrine within your household boundary, or, at least, within reachable distance.

Pit latrines

If you are one of the 41.9 million people in Tanzania who don't have these facilities, you will have to go somewhere else. Maybe you might have a simple “hole in the ground”; an open pit or a bucket. And if you are still at school, it is very likely that, if your school has a toilet at all, you will be sharing your toilet with up to 200 other pupils – phew!!

school children in Salawe

Perhaps you may join the one in eight people who look for a quiet place to go outside – behind a bush, in the fields, in a wood, down a river bank. If it’s at night, you may be worried about snakes, animals or being robbed or raped. If you are a teenage girl or woman, particularly if you're on your period, you have additional issues to contend with, not to mention the loss of dignity which this lack of privacy leads to. And if you are looking for a disabled toilet, you may feel you have more chance of finding a needle in a haystack!

Rural house in Hangomba

Unsanitary practices can lead to diarrhoea, worms or diseases such as cholera or typhoid. Especially if you never wash your hands with soap and clean water afterwards.

Young children are particularly vulnerable because they crawl on the ground, walk barefoot, play in areas where people may have pooed, and often put their hands in their mouths without washing them first. And in Tanzania, 10,000 children under five die each year due to diarrhoea.

Somewhere hygienic to go to the toilet is a basic human need and yet, more people in the world now have access to mobile phones than toilets! The UN introduced World Toilet Day with the aim to make sanitation for everyone a priority for the world. And to bring about a change in behaviour so that, once facilities are provided, they are then used and maintained.

 

Schoolchild using tippy tap after toilet

 

Working with the local communities and partner NGOs, our volunteers are making a difference to some of the poorest rural communities in Tanzania. They are helping to build additional school toilets; painting murals about hand-washing; holding workshops and community action days about hygiene; and getting children singing catchy songs about hand-washing. They are demonstrating how to build “tippy taps”, providing a simple and effective means to wash hands after going to the loo where no running water is available.

 

Helping to build school toilets

 

They are teaching lessons about hygiene in schools; and leading by providing a good example to others. And, vitally, by integrating with the local communities, they are inspiring positive long term behaviour change to make a lasting difference.

 

Young schoolgirl gives thumbs up sign

 

So, if you have somewhere hygienic to wee and poo today, do as our volunteers are doing - do something amazing and contribute to World Toilet Day!