Monday, 20 November 2017
19th Nov - World Toilet day
I was sat in a waiting room the other day, and overhead a grandmother who was looking after her baby grandson talking to a Mum. The grandmother's other daughter (who hadn't any children) had been on a visit to Burma, where for a great many families nappies don't exist - the baby is simply wrapped in a cloth. 'Imagine' said the granny ' having to cope with all that with no sanitation and no washing machines'.
This came back to me whilst changing our 11 month old granddaughter's nappy. Disposable nappies have improved so much over the last few years, and given she is teething at the moment (with all that involves) I was glad of not having to cope with the Terry nappies that my children had. (I know there is an environment price to pay for this, but bear with my train of thought for a moment!)
Even back in the dark ages, I had the luxury of an indoor toilet (for sluicing), hot water to soak the nappies in, and a washing machine to make light work of it.
We take so much for granted, including our loos. When I was a small child I hated going to one of my Aunties (not because I disliked her or my cousin) but because their toilet was down at the end of the garden, cold, dark and you never knew what creepy crawlies were lurking there! But even my Aunt's outside loo would be unheard of luxury for so many in our world. Ever day families are at risk from illness and infection, girls and women are put at risk of rape or attack, because not just their homes have no toilets, but the whole village does not have adequate latrines. Try to imagine having a tummy bug in those circumstances.
If like us, you have the luxury of a toilet downstairs as well as upstairs, or even if you just have the one loo, then you can give thanks in a practical way. There is a charity that twins toilets www.toilettwinning.org that works to bring about change.
This is what they say on their approach to building toilets:
Our partners help set up small village committees, of both men and women, to look at the link between practices such as open defecation and ill health. For many, this is a revelation: they have never understood why their children fall ill with sickness and diarrhoea in the rainy season. Then, they are keen to have a latrine.
But before latrine-building starts, there’s hygiene education on practices such as handwashing. This is key to behaviour change in the long term.
Our partners involve local people in deciding on the design and materials to be used in latrine building. This means latrines are both appropriate and affordable.
People generally build their own latrine, and this means they are much more likely to continue to use it, and maintain it – ensuring the project is sustainable.
We strongly believe that the best way to bring transformation in poor communities is to work with them, rather than doing things for them. It’s all about dignity and self-respect.
How about twinning your smallest room?
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