2016 Flushing Away Poverty

Article from the Methodist Recorder

Stratford-upon-Avon twins its toilets with facilities in Africa

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Dr Lim Ho and member of the church green group Sarah Hill with a certificate showing the unisex toilets in the New Room of the Methodist church centre are twinned with a school block in Sierra Leone.

Earlier this year Stratford-upon-Avon church’s green group launched a toilet twinning project as a way of showing gratitude for the new toilet facilities provided in the recent church redevelopment.

Toilet twinning is administrated by Tearfund to raise money to provide toilets in the under-developed world and a donation of £60 or £240 will allow loos to be twinned with a latrine or a school latrine block in a part of the world where many people lack clean water and sanitation.

When the project was launched the green group set a target of £300 so the five toilet facilities in the church centre could each be twinned with a latrine in Africa.

After three months the congregation had raised £900. This means that now the three toilets blocks can be twinned with three schools blocks and then disabled toilet with two other toilets (including the manse toilet) can be twinned with three individual latrines in Africa. Certificates of the twinned latrines will be hung to show their location in different parts of Africa.

Convenor of the Eco-Church programme Dr Lim Ho said that the result has proved to be yet another demonstration of the church members’ overwhelming generosity and concern for neighbours in need. The supporters of toilet twinning have already provided more than 64,000 toilets.

Bad sanitation is one of the world’s biggest killers. In Africa one of the reason half of young girls drop out of school is because the school has not got separate toilets for boys and girls. The Sustainable Goals, launched in 2015, included a target to ensure everywhere has access to toilets by 2030.

Download the article here.

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Sierra Leone
with a school block

fap2-liberia

Liberia
with a latrine

fap3-chad

Chad
with a school block

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Central African Republic
with a latrine

fap5-uganda

Uganda
with a school block

fap6-democratic-republic-of-congo

Democratic Republic of Congo
with a latrine

The Final Flush!

Our Toilet Twinning project has proved to be yet another demonstration of our congregation’s overwhelming generosity. When the project was launched in August All Age Worship the Green Group had set a target of £300 so we could twin our 5 toilet facilities with a latrine in Africa at the cost of £60 per toilet. Over 30 collection boxes were issued with a request that the money be handed in by Sunday 6 November.

It soon became clear as generous donations were made that we could raise the target figure and by 6 November we were in a position to send £900 to the Toilet Twinning organisation which is administered by Tearfund. This means we can now twin the New Room toilets and the Ladies and Gents toilets with 3 school block latrines at the cost of £240 per facility and twin the disabled toilet, the toilet by the lounge and the manse toilet with 3 individual latrines in Africa. Certificates of the twinned latrines will be hung to show the location of the latrines.

An update on our Toilet Twinning project

On Sunday 7 August our Toilet Twinning project was launched in All Age Worship led by our minister Rev Audrey Simpson. Resources were used from toilettwinning.org which is administered by Tearfund. The aim is to raise at least £300 by Sunday 6 November so we can twin our 5 toilet facilities with latrines in underdeveloped countries. Over 30 collection boxes have been distributed and the money is already coming in.

Have you heard of Toilet Twinning?

I certainly hadn’t until the Green Group were discussing what we could do next, not that the church has achieved three Eco-Congregation awards.

We have achieved some great environmental benefits from the refurbishment of the church, including using rainwater from the roof to flush the toilets, but, we pondered, are there new things we could do that would also link us to the wider world?

Toilet twinning is one idea. It’s scheme managed by Tearfund where individuals or organisations twin their loo (or loos) with a latrine in a part of the world where many people lack of clean water and good sanitation. I was shocked to learn that:

  • One in three people across the world don’t have somewhere safe to go to the toilet
  • Bad sanitation is one of the world’s biggest killers: it hits women, children, old and sick people hardest
  • Every minute, three children under the age of five die because of dirty water and poor sanitation
  • Today, around half the people around the world have an illness caused by bad sanitation
  • In Africa, one of the reasons that half of young girls who drop out of school is because the school hasn’t got separate toilets for boys and girls
  • Not having a loo makes women and girls a target for sexual assault as they go to the toilet in the open

How does it work?

Toilet Twinning provides people in the poorest communities across the world with a decent toilet, clean water and all the information they need to stay healthy. Tearfund and its local partners work with communities to help them understand the link between a lack of sanitation and ill health. It helps them to decide on the design and materials to be used for latrines so that the new facilities are appropriate, affordable and continue to be used. It can provide a key to helping whole communities break free from the poverty trap.

It costs £60 to twin a loo and £240 to twin with a toilet block at a school. In return, a personalised certificate is provided, complete with a colour photo and GPS coordinates so the twinned loo can be found on a global map.

It’s easy to take water we use to flush the loo for granted. Toilet twinning is a way we could support people for whom good, clean, safe sanitation is a luxury – not a given. We would need to raise money and we already have some ideas for this but we would be interested to know what you think. Please do come and talk to any of us – Lim and Evelyn Ho, Brenda Birnie, David Cooke or myself.

In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about toilet twinning, the website has lots of information, statistics and case studies.

Green Group
June 2016

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