World Toilet Day - Compassion International

World Toilet Day

Help provide bathrooms and hygiene training to children living in poverty.
World Toilet Day: It Can't Wait

World Toilet Day is an international day to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis and promote action on behalf of the billions of people living without a toilet.

World Toilet Day, first established by the World Toilet Organization in 2001 and recognized by the United Nations (UN) as an official international day in 2013, is held annually on November 19.

UN-Water coordinates the United Nations’ work on water and sanitation. It promotes cooperation and information sharing on all aspects of freshwater and sanitation by monitoring and reporting on water and sanitation issues, informing policy decisions, and raising awareness, knowledge and action about water and sanitation as human rights.

Sanitation as a Human Right

In 2010, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution acknowledging "the importance of equitable access to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as an integral component of the realization of all human rights," and recognizing "the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights."

Sanitation as a Global Development Priority

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN in 2015, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), represents the global community’s efforts to transform the world. The goals are exceptionally comprehensive and far-reaching. They represent the most ambitious anti-poverty plan the world has embarked upon.

SDG 6 — ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all — includes a specific success target related to sanitation and hygiene.

  • By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

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 the developing world they often aren’t usable by the disabled and elderly or capable of helping women and girls manage menstrual hygiene.

The proportion of the population using safely managed sanitation services that include a hand-washing facility with soap and water is the measure the UN established for determining if the target for sanitation and hygiene has been reached.

Sustainable Waste Management

Beyond the issue of availability and access to sanitation, SDG 6 is also concerned with sustainable waste management.

Sustainable sanitation management involves a multi-step process in which waste should be 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 young boy reaches for a roll of toilet paper sitting atop a wall outside of improved toilet facilities.

Themes for World Toilet Day
  • 2017: Wastewater
  • 2016: Toilets and Jobs
  • 2015: Toilets and Nutrition
  • 2014: Equality and Dignity
  • 2013: Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future

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19.3% Supporting Activities

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Prayers for World Toilet Day

Let us lift our prayers to the Lord on behalf of the billions of people in the world who do not have access safe and proper sanitation facilities

  • Pray our staff continues to successfully identify children suffering the effects of poor hygiene, so the children may receive the help and support they need.
  • Pray that when children in poverty learn sound basic hygiene habits, such as brushing teeth and washing hands before meals and after using the toilet, that the habits are adopted by family members too.
  • Pray for the health of children recovering from diarrhea and intestinal worms caused by a lack of adequate sanitation.
  • Pray that the poor gain access to adequate sanitation facilities so they no longer have to risk their safety and dignity.
  • Pray that countries and communities around the world make progress in providing better sanitation facilities and that the goal of universal access to water and sanitation is reached by 2030.

Sanitation is Critical
to Sustainable Health Care


Imagine a hole in the ground with a wooden box over it. That hole and that box are the only place you can go to the bathroom. That one hole and that one box are also the only place 250 other children can go to the bathroom, along with the 400 congregation members of the church, their children and the church's staff.

Just to use the toilet, you have to wait in a really long line. You and your friends miss class activities, and as a result you don't learn much that day.

If you're young, sometimes you soil yourself because you can’t hold it any longer – leaving one of the church volunteers to clean you up.

As an adolescent girl, you are too embarrassed to use the toilet with a boy standing outside so you use the bushes instead of waiting or you skip class or Compassion activities altogether.

"I did not like to come to the center when I thought about the toilet facility. I did not like it when I was inside and a boy was standing outside waiting for me to finish; it made me shy. So some Saturdays if I did not feel too good in my stomach and I knew I would be needing to visit the washroom frequently, I did not bother to come to the project." — 12-year old Lydia

This was the situation at the Mankessim Child Development Center at Deliverance Assembly of God Church in Mankessim, Ghana...for seven years. But no longer.

A water, sanitation and hygiene toilet facility.

Three girls each stand in the door way of an improved sanitation facility toilet stall

When we provide one of our church partners with improved sanitation facilities and hygiene training, the entire community the church serves gains greater protection from waterborne disease.

Healthier children spend more time in school, are more involved in church activities, and they fight off infection more easily. Young girls in particular benefit because they are no longer forced to miss time in school due to inadequate facilities and the need for privacy to deal with menstruation.

This is why we educate the children in our programs about the importance of improved sanitation and proper hygiene.

Every child deserves the dignity proper sanitation facilities helps provide.


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