Simon, Febby and child in Zambia loo
Handful of beans
Louise Monica in Zambia
Images by Toilet Twinning
More than 700 children under five die every day from preventable diseases linked to dirty water and unsafe toilets. Toilet Twinning is a charity campaign whose aim is to flush away poverty, one toilet at a time! Set up in 2010, the initiative helps tackle the global water and sanitation crisis with help from supporters who can get involved by twinning their toilet with a family latrine built overseas.
Working in some of the world’s poorest communities which are often conflict-affected and volatile, Toilet Twinning raises much-needed funds to provide clean water, proper toilets and hygiene education to thousands of people. It’s a vital combination that prevents the spread of disease, restores families’ health and productivity, and brings hope for the future.
Toilet Twinning works through local community-based partners who provide training and materials, but it is usually the families themselves who do the hard work and build their latrines. All this gives them ‘ownership’ of their toilet, and means they will keep on using it. The community are heavily involved in planning and decision-making and get involved too in installing water systems such as digging pipelines for gravity-flow water systems. Learning about basic hygiene too, especially handwashing, brings rapid improvements to the health of the whole community. Parents can work in their fields and grow crops and children can go to school and get an education. Having a toilet enables families to take a first big step out of generational poverty.
At the start of the pandemic, 3 billion people lacked basic handwashing facilities at home – despite handwashing being the single-most effective way to stop the spread of infection generally. So the charity’s partners ramped up their work to improve water access and promote good hygiene, including through teaching communities how to set up simple handwashing stations called tippy taps. Tap Twinning, now a permanent campaign, enables supporters to give the gift of safe, clean water by twinning their tap in the kitchen or bathroom with a water system overseas. The Covid pandemic and the need for clean water continue unabated in many poorer countries. Some 122 million people still drink water directly from sources such as rivers and ponds. And water scarcity, made worse by climate change, means crops continue to fail, food supplies dwindle and people remain trapped in poverty.
The charity launched its Fridge Twinning emergency appeal in May – because 40 million people are suffering acute hunger as a result of Covid’s economic shocks. When poorer communities went into strict lockdown, many people lost their livelihoods overnight, without being able to fall back on social safety nets such as furlough schemes. In many countries the Covid pandemic has only added to existing hunger crises caused by issues like conflict and climate change. By twinning your fridge, you help provide food and cash vouchers and support livelihoods projects so families in over 20 countries can put food on their table.
Supporters of Toilet Twinning have already raised £1,371.91 through easyfundraising and together we can make this year mean more. Shopping through easyfundraising is more than just a purchase, it means more lives transformed through access to clean water, proper toilets, good hygiene and food.