When you were younger, you probably were told by those who were older and wiser not to use toilet talk. Talking about toilets can cause giggles and is accompanied by a whole host of taboo topics. But the truth is, toilets have a serious impact for children living in poverty. Maybe you’ve never considered just how important this topic is before now or perhaps you are here precisely because you know how important it is. We are glad you have chosen to learn all about washrooms and respond because we need people like you to be talking about toilets to raise awareness and use your influence to make a difference. So yes, we’re saying let’s talk toilets.
On this page:
Ways you can respond today
We need people like you to be sharing about this important issue. You can use your influence to educate others on the need for washrooms.
We also need people who will raise funds so that real, tangible action can be taken to build washrooms for children. You can use your influence to fundraise.
And wherever there is great need, we need people of prayer. You can use your influence by committing to a four-week prayer journey.
Start with some stats
Today, 4.2 billion people—more than half the global population—lack safely managed sanitation. This means that how waste is “flushed away” has a detrimental impact on the health of the communities they are in. This is a big deal because poor sanitation is linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio and exacerbates stunting. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that sanitation is not only poorly managed but for over half of the 4.2 billion people, 2.4 billion to be precise, don’t have access to washrooms or toilets at all!
At least 892 million people continue to practice open defecation in places such as street gutters, behind bushes or into open bodies of water because they just don’t have anywhere else to go. If you are wondering how this might impact children, it is important to understand that the countries where open defecation is most widespread have the highest number of deaths of children aged under 5 years. These countries also have the highest levels of malnutrition and poverty, and big disparities of wealth.
Toilets are particularly important for girls. Dignity, safety, opportunity and education are all impacted by access to sanitation services. At least 500 million women and girls globally lack adequate facilities for menstrual hygiene management. And in low-income countries, about half of the schools lack the sanitation and hygiene that is crucial for girls to manage their periods. This causes many girls to have to miss school during their periods.
See the impact through video
Step into their stories
Explore the stories of children and their communities around the world and learn about why washrooms matter.
Now that you have learned why toilets are so important, you can take action for children in poverty. Prayerfully consider how you can use your influence to make a difference.