Improved sanitation

Building toilet blocks for six frontline church partners in Tanzania

Water & SanitationWater & Sanitation
Back to All Reports

The Need

Many girls and boys in Tanzania have no access to proper toilets or hand washing facilities when they attend their Compassion program. Lack of adequate washrooms is a challenge that puts the lives of 1,149 registered beneficiaries from six frontline church partners at great risk of contamination and illness. This critical need was raised during a stakeholder meeting with youth, tutors, church leaders and Compassion staff.

Among these six local churches is an average of two toilets per 200 children—far below the legal requirement of one latrine for every 20 girls and one for every 25 boys. The lack of privacy in sanitary washrooms is greatly affecting the children’s health and self-esteem. Boys and girls are continuously getting sick from bacteria, viruses and parasites because they have no way to wash their hands. Tutors are spending much of their day supervising children in line to use the washroom instead of focusing on program activities and curriculum lessons.

These churches desperately needed improved sanitation facilities to meet the holistic needs of all children in their care. Girls and boys deserve a safe learning environment that safeguards their health and contributes to their overall development, dignity and self-worth. But these six church partners needed your help to give them that.

Our Response

Thanks to your generous financial investment, six participating churches were finally able to address their goal of reducing the child toilet ratio from one for every hundred children to one for every 20 girls and one for every 25 boys—with an average of 10 new toilets per centre to accommodate all beneficiaries without long queues.

First, leaders from the six churches decided on the budget, milestones and timeframe with input from partnership facilitators and intervention specialists. Second, churches mobilized locally available resources from caregivers, friends and church members. This successful mobilization resulted in caregivers offering manual labour and church members volunteering to trench the foundations and support local masons. Others provided construction materials or financial support. Rallying together contributed to the success of the intervention because communities collaborated on a common goal instead of relying solely on donor funds.

Next, each church committee carefully selected vendors from qualified bidders based on price and experience. Three categories of vendors were hired: masons, suppliers of construction materials and plumbers. Health practitioners conducted hygiene training sessions for all 1,149 registered beneficiaries across the six Compassion centres. Children and youth learned hand washing procedures, use of sanitary toilets and how to maintain the facilities.

Partnership facilitators and program support specialists, along with church leadership and local engineers monitored and assessed progress at each stage to keep the project on track, thus ensuring a successful completion. COVID-19 and other global factors resulted in cost inflation, but churches managed the challenge by mobilizing extra local resources and negotiating with service providers.


Latrine walls: Proper walls are important in washrooms to safeguard privacy. Construction crews built walls to partition one toilet unit from another. Outside walls were plastered or coated with white cement and painted to protect from erosion.

Hand washing sinks: Constructing hand washing facilities right at the door of the washroom enforces good hygiene practice among program participants after using the toilets. Easy access helps children follow good hygiene habits to help keep them safe and healthy.

Finishing touches: Installing quality toilets and painting the washrooms completed the final stage of the project. Toilets, urinals and sinks were fixed at a level accessible to young children.

Plumbing: Connecting water systems is important in toilets to simplify cleanliness. Plumbers connected water systems for proper flow of water when flushing and washing hands.

Monitoring: Church leaders visited construction sites to assess construction progress.

Hygiene training: Practical training of children and youth on good hygiene practices is critical for ensuring that children understand important health procedures.

Your Gift Provides...

Your generous gift constructed toilet blocks for six church partners in Tanzania:

• Excavation
• Toilet foundation and wall construction:
○ Block, cement, sand, stones, iron bars, binding wire, timber for ring beam
• Roofing:
○ Timber, board nails, iron sheets and nails, fascia boards
• Doors and windows:
○ Toilet room doors, door stoppers, window grills
• Plastering:
○ Sand, cement, gypsum powder
• Finishing:
○ Floor and wall tiles, paint, gypsum boards
• Toilets, water supply and hand washing sinks:
○ Toilets, hand washing sinks, urinals, poly pipes, PVC pipes and connectors, water supply pipes, P-traps for sinks, plumbing connectors, taps
• Electrical installation:
○ Conduit pipes, electric cables and junctions, switch circuits, electric bulb holders
• Hygiene training for beneficiaries and staff

ReportA message from those your gift helped

We used to compete for toilets as there were so few. The program day timetable was not motivating because when released for using the toilets we used to queue for a long time. There was high contamination in the toilets and our lives were at risk. We had no hand washing basins near the toilets. We did not enjoy going to the toilets because sometimes boys and girls shared the toilets.

Since the intervention, we have enough privacy because there are separate washrooms for girls and boys. We have enough toilets for all of us, so we no longer wait in line because the available toilets have an appropriate ratio to accommodate all of us. We often practise hand washing procedures because we have hand washing basins right in the toilet buildings. We are now protected from contamination.

This change means better health for all of us and increased dignity for girls, who have their own toilets where they don’t have to mix with the boys. When we don’t fall sick, we can fully participate in school and cut medical expenses. The resources that were being spent on medical treatment can now be used for other critical needs at the family level and the church level.

Having enough and improved toilets is critical for the physical development of each child, which has an indirect effect on his or her academic and economic life of the family. I have learned that having good toilets at the church is good, but we also need to replicate the same hygiene habits at home to ensure our full protection.

We are happy and grateful for the way you have provided your resources, skills and support to make this intervention successful for our good. We will always pray for God to bless and increase you more and more.

Debora, Compassion-assisted beneficiary at TZ0285

ReportThank you for your generosity

Thank you for ensuring safety, dignity and privacy for girls and boys growing up in poverty in Tanzania through the gift of sanitary washroom facilities. The goal of 60 new toilets was surpassed with a grand total of 64 newly constructed toilet units. Thanks to your generous investment, six faithful local churches are now better equipped to serve more children with enough units to accommodate more than 200 children per church.

The new washroom facilities now meet government standards for gender ratio. Children are using the hand washing sinks to wash their hands with soap and water. Plenty of toilets means contamination is greatly decreased, reducing the incidence of illnesses like cholera and diarrhea, which used to leave children too sick to attend school or program days.

Four churches prioritized constructing special changerooms to support girls during menstruation. Such spaces are creating awareness among children and their parents on the importance of making girls’ and women’s health a priority. Compassion is committed to protecting girls’ dignity and well-being by advocating for their unique needs.

Since completing washroom construction, privacy and queuing is no longer an issue. There are finally enough separate toilets that children don’t have to wait in line, compete for toilets or miss out on program activities. Thanks to the new plumbing systems, children have access to clean water for flushing and hand washing.

All six partner churches feel better equipped to serve their communities by easily accommodating children on program days and church members during church services. Compassion tutors say they enjoy teaching much more now that they are not spending their time overseeing washroom lineups; they can fully deliver their lesson plans each day and meet curriculum requirements. Children are happy with all the extra time to engage in extracurricular activities and outdoor play!

Thank you for showing these girls and boys that their physical bodies matter to God—that they are worthy of being protected through safe, sanitary washroom facilities. Thank you for playing a pivotal role in their journey of being released from poverty in Jesus’ name.

ReportA message from a centre director

The children’s lives have changed in different ways since the completion of this project. They are no longer competing over toilets since there are enough to accommodate all registered participants during program days. There is now a sanitation facility since a water system was connected in the washrooms, including hand washing basins and flushing systems. Time is no longer wasted during program days because of not enough toilets, where there was queuing for the toilets.

Through this intervention, the church is now equipped to minister to more children as there are enough units of toilets to accommodate over 200 children at once. The constructed toilet units have enough for each gender—enough to accommodate the girls and the boys separately. With enough units of toilets there is reduced contamination, which protects children from communicable diseases. There are hygiene facilities in the toilet blocks like hand washing basins, which facilitate hygiene trainings for children and youth.

I pray that God will bless you for your generous heart. You have met the need of our church. Having enough and improved toilet units is helpful as it makes the church better able to serve the registered children. With your generosity, you have protected children from contamination, which puts their lives at risk.

Anitha, Compassion centre director at TZ0285