Water - Bathrooms and Hygiene Training

Proper Sanitation is a Human Right

World Toilet Day was first established by the World Toilet Organization in 2001 and recognized by the United Nations (UN) as an official international day in 2013. It is held annually each November 19 to help bring a basic human right to billions of people living without access to proper sanitation facilities.

"The right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation … is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights." – UN General Assembly, 2010

It Can't Wait. Think About It.

When’s the last time you had to use the restroom and remembered that the nearest toilet was over a mile away?

Wondered if you could wait in line for two hours?

Worried who would see you? Or if it was safe to go, at all?

It’s awkward to talk about. But the reality is that in low- and middle-income countries, toilets aren’t taboo. They are a luxury. That’s right. Today, billions of people across the globe still live without access to a proper restroom in their homes, schools, churches or communities.

Without access to a functioning toilet and proper sanitation systems public health is put at risk. Disease is spread. Safety is threatened. And dignity is taken away by the inability to take care of one of the most basic human functions.

For everyone, it’s unhealthy. For children, it’s unsafe. For the disabled, it’s impossible. And it’s embarrassing and vulnerable—especially for young girls.

Open defecation is still a reality for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and for women and girls, having to defecate openly exposes them to violence and shame. Even where toilets do exist in low- and middle-income countries they often aren’t usable by the disabled and elderly or capable of helping women and girls manage menstrual hygiene.

a group of young men and young women stand in front of a building with men's and women's hygienic toilets

What Defines a Proper Restroom Facility?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN in 2015, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), represents the world's global development priorities. It is the most ambitious anti-poverty plan the world has ever seen. The goals are exceptionally comprehensive and far-reaching, so far-reaching they're even concerned with toilets.

For purposes of the SDG, the UN considers a proper restroom one in which human waste is deposited into a hygienic toilet and stored in a sealed container, separated from human contact and unable to contaminate the environment. The waste is removed for treatment by pipes or a latrine emptying service and processed into treated wastewater and waste products that can be returned to the environment or reused as fertilizer or to help generate energy. A proper restroom facility also needs to include the ability to wash hands with soap and water.

How We Help with Toilets and Sanitation

Sanitation is about much more than hygiene. Its also about human dignity.

Picture a little girl from Africa, Asia or South America. Her family lives in poverty and doesn’t have a working toilet in the home. She’s often forced to relieve herself outside, behind a tree or in the open.

At school, the "toilet" is a hole in the ground covered by a make-shift wooden box. And since hundreds of children share this one "toilet", she and her classmates often have to wait in a line for long periods of time. If the line is too long, she risks soiling herself because she can’t hold it any longer. If that happens in front of her classmates, they'll ridicule her.

As she grows up and starts her period, she becomes even more vulnerable and begins to skip school and other activities, isolating herself out of fear.

A solemn looking girl with an orange tank top on stands next to a mud hut

If she had access to a clean, functioning toilet and hand-washing facilities, she'd be better protected from disease and have the ability to manage her monthly period without shame or worry. She could focus on being a kid, freed from unnecessary worry.

Fortunately, our little girl attends a church we partner with, and she and her friends get to to learn how to stay clean and take care of their bodies. She is safer, healthier and able to live without fear or shame...because she has access to something as simple as a toilet. And on top of that, the entire community the church serves gains greater protection from waterborne disease.

Because we partner with thousands of local churches around the world, we are able to make safe, working restrooms available to millions of children. Your donation can turn a simple toilet into dignity for each child in our care.

from poor sanitation and unsafe water

892 million
for example, in street gutters and behind bushes

2.3 billion
still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines

Sources: WASHwatch and World Health Organization

Provide Sanitation Facilities and Hygiene Education

Most of the children we serve have no bathroom at home and limited access to basic sanitation.

Your tax-deductible donation helps ensure that each Compassion-assisted child has access to a clean bathroom and a place to learn proper hygiene, dramatically decreasing illnesses. It also helps provide each child the privacy and dignity he or she deserves.

Give With Confidence

With Compassion, your donation is used wisely to help children around the world.

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Have Questions About Compassion and How We Work?

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Please call us at 800-336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT, to speak with a Compassion representative.