International Development - World Toilet Day

published on 18 Nov 2014

This World Toilet Day (19th November) read why good sanitation is so important, and how The Salvation Army is helping communities in Malawi to address this problem. 

Patricia is a young mother from Majuwa village in Malawi. She knows all too well the dangers of inadequate sanitation. She says, ‘the children often had acute diarrhoea. There were times when it was only hardship, pain and agony. There was no escape. One of my children died. Slowly all the pains became normal.’   Due to the pressures of needing to feed her children, Patricia found that issues around health and sanitation often came second. Every morning she would wake up before dawn and head to farmland to work so she could earn enough to feed her children.

A lack of decent sanitation was all too familiar for the people living in Patricia’s village. This is why The Salvation Army has been supporting the community to find their own solutions to their sanitation problem. 

One of the things they have organised is the building of demonstration composting toilets and hand washing taps (called ‘leaky taps’) to teach and motivate the community to construct their own. At first Patricia struggled to make building a toilet a priority because of her need to work in the field to ensure she could feed her children. However once she saw how the lives of others in the community who had built a toilet had improved Patricia was convinced to do the same.

Once her toilet was built Patricia started making sanitation and hygiene a priority for herself and her family. She says: ‘I have gained a lot of benefits from using the toilet and the leaky tap. The kids are healthy and have almost no diarrhoea. They always wash their hands after using the toilet.’

After only 12 months, all 2,337 households in Majuwa now have a toilet and a better understanding of the importance of good sanitation and hygiene, as Patricia explains:

‘As a mother I have a role in training my children to always wash their hands with soap. The simple act of washing hands with the children is more likely to be ingrained in their minds forever than just telling them to do so. It is helpful to make washing hands regularly as quick and easy as possible.’


By choosing a WATER gift from JUST GIFTS you can help others like Patricia have access to clean water and safe sanitation. You can buy a Composting Toilet for just £15 which gives people a safe place to go to the loo and create compost to help their crops grow too. Or you can buy our Helpful Hygiene Tips gift for just £5 to help people keep their family happy and healthy.

Find out more about all the gifts you can choose here.