On the blog

Monday, 18 November 2013

Aid DOES make a difference

Why not mark World Toilet Day, 19 November, by twinning a toilet you use - maybe in your office, or somewhere you visit like a cinema or cafe? It’s a great way to get the Toilet Twinning message out so that more people can help flush away poverty.

These stories from Ethiopia and Uganda spell out the benefits of having a clean, decent and accessible loo - something that 2.5 billion people worldwide are still without.

‘Before we had a toilet, we were not interested in working in the fields, because the smell was pungent and the field was full of excrement,’ says Amanuel from Ethiopia.
Amanuel and his wife Meselech with their two daughters and their latrine [photo: Richard Hanson/Toilet Twinning]
Now he and his wife Meselech cultivate cabbage, potato, tomato, carrots, beetroot and false banana to feed their family. What’s more, their two daughters have never suffered from diarrhoea.  

The reason? Toilet Twinning funded Ethiopia’s Kale Heywet Church to show the couple how to build a latrine using local materials. They also gave them training and advice on keeping their bodies, house and compound healthy and hygienic, stressing the importance of using soap and clean water.  

‘After the toilet was built, our environment became clean and we wanted to work.’ says Amanuel, adding ‘Now, we are in the field and get fresh air. We are much healthier. My compound is clean. It makes me want to be productive.’

William and Annette Nkwansibwe from Uganda also have a new latrine, which they built themselves, using materials found around their property and sticks they could buy locally.
William and Annette Nkwansibwe [photo Vernon Kingsley/Toilet Twinning]
But the real difference in their lives now is that they also have the knowledge to go with the latrine: they know they need to keep their latrine enclosed and to wash their hands. They also know they need to keep their cleaning and drinking water separate.

Now they rarely get sick.

This gift of knowledge, this fresh confidence, came through Toilet Twinning’s Ugandan partner the Diocese of Kigezi, which has been running its water and sanitation programme in Kabale district for more than 35 years.

Through Toilet Twinning funding, the Diocese of Kigezi were also able to teach Ugandan mother Vivien Birunga to build a latrine.  They added in hygiene and handwashing education too. 'I don't need to borrow money to pay for medicine since having my latrine and learning about hygiene,' she says. A little bit of knowledge has saved Vivien an awful lot of money. More than that, it’s given her dignity and hope.

Thank you for supporting Toilet Twinning.
World Toilet Day, 19 November

Monday, 11 November 2013

Guerrilla Twinning Puts a Tiger in the Toilet

Skelmersdale’s St Paul’s Church of England Church is indulging in a bit of friendly fire for this year’s World Toilet Day, 19 November.  The church, which has already twinned its own loos with latrines in Burundi, is now spearheading some ‘guerrilla twinning’ of toilets in its local community.  A harvest festival collection of £500, made into a toilet bowl naturally, kicked off the fundraising activities which have also included a screening of the film ‘Flushed Away’.

Chris Spittle gets close to a tiger in a toilet at The Jungle soft play area
Reverend Chris Spittle, vicar of St Paul’s, explained the reason behind this unusual activity: ‘Toilet Twinning is a great way to strengthen our links with the community while doing something tangible to help people overseas, and the way that it has all snowballed is rather incredible.’  

More than 15,000 people in the UK have already twinned their toilets, but St Paul’s Church is bringing a new twist to the idea.  Church members drew up a ‘hitlist’ of loos in their local community which they wanted to donate Toilet Twinning certificates to, and then voted for their favourites.

Young people from St Paul's vote for their favourite Skelmersdale places to be added to the 'hitlist' for guerrilla twinning

‘When we approached our “targets” to ask their permission some thought that we were asking them to pay, which actually they were willing to do, so we had to explain that St Paul’s was doing this as a gift to them,’ said Mr Spittle.

Judging by the reaction so far, the idea is going down a storm.  The town’s Ecumenical Centre,  The Greenhill Community Hub, and Trinity Church of England/Methodist Primary School in Kiln Lane, are all accepting twins with latrines overseas.  Asda supermarket in Ingram, The Jungle soft play area in Westgate, and West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, are also delighted to be on St Paul’s invitation list.  

‘Everyone has been really enthusiastic and loved the idea and most of the recipients are now talking about twinning the rest of their toilets.’ Mr Spittle said, adding: ‘Our church Beavers, Cubs and Scouts suggested doing a sponsored sit on the toilet in the foyer of Asda.  The Asda staff liked the idea so much, they’re talking about doing the same thing so that they can twin all of their staff toilets.’    

Beavers, Cubs and Scouts start their fundraising 'toilet sit' in the foyer of Asda Skelmersdale
(all photos: St Paul's Skelmersdale)
Helen Broady, Community Life Champion for Asda Skelmersdale, explained why the church’s gift had spurred them to make more latrine links: 'It's a privilege to accept the toilet twinning, because we do a lot of work in the local community but this gives us the chance to do something international. It's a great way for us to reach farther afield.'