World Toilet Day on November 19th is a great opportunity to provide others with one of life’s most basic necessities that we take for granted every day. A toilet is a gift that has a whole range of benefits. For instance, giving someone access to a composting toilet in a refugee camp or community can save lives by preventing the spread of disease. Not only that, but it brings dignity to people, and having a toilet in school encourages children (particularly girls) to attend class. It will even produce crop-boosting compost.
It’s amazing what a decent toilet can do. At Rueben Baptist School in Nairobi, Kenya, enrollment has doubled in the 12 months since they installed Fresh Life toilets. Previously, the school had unsanitary pit latrines and outbreaks of water-related illnesses were high. But the new Fresh Life toilets have helped create a clean and healthy school environment where the children can study and play. They also teach children the importance of hand washing, general health and cleanliness. As a result, children do not get sick as much and so come to class more regularly. “I like Fresh Life toilets because they are sanitary, there’s tissue, and water for washing your hands,” says Pauline Mokaya, a student at Rueben Baptist School.
With Oxfam America, you can provide an Emergency Toilet for just $50, helping prevent the spread of deadly diseases in crisis situations. This simple but important gift can save lives by creating more sanitary environments for people living in camps after disaster strikes. On the 19th itself, go to oxfamamerica.org or oxfamgifts.com, where Oxfam America will also be offering a special one-day match, so the impact of your donation supporting World Toilet Day will be doubled!
On Oxfam UK’s website, support purchase of a toilet for £20, and see photos of different toilets that will amaze the “maker” in anyone: For flood-prone areas, we have built raised toilets and even floating ones! Accessible toilets make a huge difference for the many people who receive life-changing injuries during disasters. Pit toilets are one of the first things Oxfam gets to work on in an emergency; for the huge numbers of people often displaced in refugee camps, these are a quick way to keep disease at bay. Worm toilets help address the tricky problem of getting rid of poo in slums–when there’s no room to dig, a few thousand toilet worms can come in handy.
Want more? Check out Chris Hufstader’s First Person Blog “What’s in a toilet? Way more than you thought.”