Toilet Poverty

How Can I Help with Hygiene Poverty?

Even though hygiene poverty is on the decline, open defecation is still a global issue, as well as millions lacking other hygienic practices. From 2000 to 2017, the number of people practicing open defecation went from 21 percent to 9 percent of the population.[1] While that is marked improvement, there are still 673 million people who must defecate in the open. Nine out of ten of those people who practice open defecation live in either Central and Southern Asia or sub-Saharan Africa.[2] On top of that, the United Nations report, “2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely-managed drinking water, while 4.2 billion go without safe sanitation services and three billion lack basic handwashing facilities.”[3]

With such horrors continuing, the need for action is very clear. GFA World is just one organization that is working to address the toilet crisis. In 2019 alone, we installed 5,428 toilets, which brought their cumulative total to 32,000 toilets installed in some of the world’s most undeveloped areas.[4] In a densely populated area with 1,600 families spread throughout eight villages, the majority lived in poverty. They could barely afford to survive, let alone worry about hygiene or basic sanitation facilities. GFA missionaries stepped up, collecting supplies and manpower to build those facilities. More than 250 of those families received a toilet and instructions on how to properly use and clean them, which would help prevent disease.

“All the beneficiaries were ecstatic at the gift. The women were especially happy; they no longer needed to put themselves in danger every time they needed to use the toilet. They finally had a safe place to privately relieve themselves. No more would they need to venture out into the fields to do so,” Ritain, a GFA missionary, said.[5]

The Sisters of Compassion (specially trained GFA women missionaries) and other GFA missionaries also raise awareness and train people in proper hygiene practices. One of the benefits of our child sponsorship program is to work with the children, teaching them handwashing and dental care.[6] Education is important because access to toilets does not necessarily indicate usage; changing someone’s habits, their mindsets and deeply entrenched beliefs must take place as well.[7]

You can help with this major effort to end the global toilet crisis. It takes on average about $540 to install each new toilet, and every little bit donated helps. Consider donating to GFA World and continue praying for those impacted by poverty’s adverse effects; it doesn’t take much to change a family’s whole world.

Learn more about toilet poverty

[1] “Billions globally lack ‘water, sanitation and hygiene,’ new UN report spells out.” UN News. June 17, 2019.
[2] “Open Defecation.” World Health Organization Unicef: JMP. Accessed November 8, 2022.
[3] “Billions Globally Lack ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene’, New UN Report Spells Out.” United Nations. June 17, 2019.
[4] Walker, Ken. “Taking the Toilet Challenge.” GFA World Special Report. May 18, 2021.
[5] “Toilets Keep Communities Healthy, Safe.” GFA World Ministry Reports and Stories. November 19, 2020.
[6] “Monthly Prayer Focus.” GFA World. Accessed November 8, 2022.
[7] Burton, Karen. “Fight Against Open Defecation Continues.” GFA World Special Report. December 15, 2017. Edited November 14, 2020, by Ken Walker.