What role do toilets have in a clean water project?
Toilets are an important but often overlooked part of a clean water project. It’s estimated that over 2 billion people in the world do not have access to a toilet, latrine or other sanitation facility. In these areas, people often go out to the fields to relieve themselves.
Open defecation is part of everyday life for 673 million people. Open defecation increases a person’s risk for diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis A, polio and diarrhea.1 This practice is also unsafe, and women often face harassment and assault.2
Pamela is one of those 673 million. Her family would walk to a field to relieve themselves. But Pamela worried. Would her daughter, Aalia, be ok during the day if she needed to go to the field by herself? Aalia suffered from seizures, and it wasn’t safe for her to go to the field alone. Pamela worried that Aalia would have a seizure far from home and not be able to return home. Or even worse, be assaulted along the path.
One day, local GFA pastor Raanan was looking out from his rooftop terrace and saw a person laying beside the path. He and his wife Abony ran to help. Young Aalia was having a seizure. The pastor and his wife cared for the girl and then went to visit Aalia’s family. They learned about their lack of a toilet and set out to help.
Through help from GFA, Pastor Raanan’s church built a toilet for the family. They can now go to the bathroom safely, whenever they need to. The gift helped Aalia’s family see how much God cares for them.
Toilets and hand-washing facilities are often an overlooked aspect of water projects. Without them, an organization is only meeting part of the problem.
On average, it costs around $540 to build a sanitation facility, but a gift of any amount makes a significant impact that will transform a family’s situation.
1 “Sanitation: Key Facts”. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sanitation. March 2021.
2 Saleem, M., Burdett, T. & Heaslip, V. “Health and social impacts of open defecation on women: a systematic review.” BMC Public Health. https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6423-z. 2019.