On the blog

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Toilet Twinner runs length of Britain

Tom, ready to run, with his
Toilet Twinning certificate

Hello toilet twinners of the world and many thanks for this opportunity to guest blog.

My name is Tom and I have chosen Toilet Twinning as one of two charities to support as I run from John O'Groats to Land's End (JOGLE).

Preparations are almost complete and it is now less than 2 weeks until departure. You can follow my progress on my blog: www.tomrunsjogle.com.

With the kind support of those closest to me and inspiration from adventurers such as Rosie Swale-Pope I decided that my ambition would take me the length of the country. I will be running nearly 900 miles over 36 days to complete the JOGLE route.  

My journey will hold untold treats and surprises, and I will no doubt have many moments of physical and mental joy as well as despair to enjoy and endure as I make my way through almost a marathon each day.

I discovered Toilet Twinning a couple of years ago and my own foray into twinning has resulted in our bathroom toilet having a partner in Burundi, delighting our visiting guests with such a simple but rewarding concept.

I am very proud to be running to raise money for Toilet Twinning and I hope that my adventure spurs you on in your own life and helps to renew your support.      

If you like to run or enjoy looking after wayward runners with a cold drink and a kind word as they pass your neighbourhood then get in touch. My route is on the blog, I'd love to see you.


We'll be following Tom's blog and giving you updates along the way. If you're able to support Tom as he takes on this fantastic challenge, please do get in touch with him and let us know as well. 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sanitation heroes of the DRC

Community-led sanitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or CLTS in DRC for short, is one of the ways in which Tearfund is working with communities in this war-torn African country.

We heard from Monica Verhaege, Tearfund’s Public Health Advisor in the DRC, about the impact this is having on people's lives.

What’s the DRC like?
The DRC is only one country away from being the worst place on earth in terms of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living. The many-sided war that officially ceased in 2002 claimed over 4 million lives. Sadly, conflict between various armed groups and atrocities against civilians, especially women, continue.

People living in the regions most affected by these armed groups, for example in the Eastern regions of North and South Kivu, live with instability and uncertainty. Yet they are trying to rebuild their lives after the war and develop healthy communities.

Today, few people in DRC have access to basic services, including clean water and sanitation, which poses serious health risks. This is a country where most people don’t live to see their 50th birthday, and diarrhoea is the second biggest killer.

In 2010 Tearfund’s Disaster Management Team in the DRC launched its pilot CLTS scheme.

What exactly is CLTS?
Community-led total sanitation, or CLTS, is an approach to sanitation that involves the local community and enables them to address sanitation issues themselves. Local materials are used by local people to build their own latrines.

We might think that ‘real aid’ should be paying for and building latrines for communities. Although this might be well-meaning, communities benefit immeasurably more from approaches that empower and involve them than from handouts.

Tshoko, a village of 188 households in North Kivu, is a good example of the two different approaches.

Tshoko is in a chronically insecure area where there is constant rebel movement. A fear of having to flee into the bush combined with the fact that most villagers do not own the land they live on means that people are unwilling to invest in expensive infrastructure, like toilets.

An unused and overgrown
donated latrine slab
As a consequence the nearby fields were the village’s toilets and open defecation was the norm. Latrine slabs had been donated by NGOs in the past to help these villagers. However, with no accompanying health promotion or education, these slabs were left unused and half-buried by weeds.

After Tearfund’s CLTS training, it was as if the entire community experienced a hygiene epiphany. Community members realised they could not lead healthy lives without building latrines.

The community became excited about using the old, unused slabs to build their new latrines. People even walked long distances to areas that weren’t controlled by militias to find materials. They want their village to be a healthy place for their children to live in.  

After CLTS training this family in Tshoko reused an old slab to build their family latrine. 
Monica says: “I have observed a huge hygiene and sanitation awakening that is community driven and spreading like a wildfire across the region. I am inspired by communities that have been devastated by the conflict, but then are motivated to build their own latrines. The communities themselves are the true sanitation heroes in DRC.”

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Raising a penny to help others spend one

Fundraising can be a great way to raise awareness about the 2.6 billion people in the world who don’t have loo and to encourage more people to get involved.

If you’d like to hold a fundraising event to twin some toilets, get others twinning or simply give towards improved sanitation, here are some resources and ideas to help you.

Promotional resources
We would love to send you some free Toilet Twinning leaflets to hand out at your event. These come in packs of 25, please contact us through the website if you’d like some.

You can download A3 and A4 posters from our resources page to use at any event.

We have some fetching Flush Away Poverty T-shirts available in small, medium, large and extra-large. If you’d like one of these for your event, please contact us via the website or call on 0845 355 8355.  

If you’re doing a sponsored event, you can download a sponsorship form from our resources page.

If your friends find it easier to donate online, you can set up a Virgin Giving page and donations will come straight through to Toilet Twinning. Soon you’ll be able to use Just Giving as well.
NB: You will not get Toilet Twinning certificates if you use one of these sites, they are just for those wanting to donate to Toilet Twinning. If you’re raising money to twin toilets please bank the money raised then order your twins online or by post. 

And more…
If you’d like a speaker from Tearfund or Cord to come along to your event, drop us a quick email with some details of what you’re planning and we’ll see what we can do.

Stuck for ideas?
There are loads of different ways you could raise money for Toilet Twinning. Here are just a few:
  • Do a sponsored run, kayak, silence or anything else, whilst wearing a Toilet Twinning T-shirt of course
  • Host a Toilet Twinning meal and auction - we can send you some framed certificates of loos in Burundi, Cambodia or DR Congo to auction off
  • Summer Sizzle BBQ – keep your eyes open for recipes and ideas this summer!
Here are some examples of what other lovely people have done…

2nd Amersham-on-the-Hill Brownies ran a café for the day. At the café they had games, including a human slot machine, crafts and sold chocolates in toilet-shaped boxes. 

Mums & Tots Club in Newtownards held a 48-hour sponsored water use. They asked mums to collect small change each time they used water, for example to run a bath for their baby or washed their hands after changing a nappy. 

Last lent students at Regents Theological College ‘Gave away a take away’. They stopped buying take away food or coffee and donated the money saved. These students were lucky(?) enough to have a disconnected toilet they could use as a central collection point. 

1st Celbridge Scouts held two events: a cake sale and bag packing at a local supermarket. 

St Pauls Church in Skelmersdale held a collection with a difference. Instead of passing round a collection plate they used a spare toilet to collect donations.

If you’ve got an event coming up or have photos from one that you ran, we would love to hear from you.

Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated to Toilet Twinning!
Photocredit: Nick Wilmot / Cord