I am always on the look-out for innovative ways to fundraise and toilet twinning is one such initiative. For those who have yet to venture into a toilet that has been ‘twinned’, it is a fundraiser to improve sanitation and hygiene levels in places in India in Africa. The fee you pay to twin your bog with a bog in a developing country helps to improve sanitation levels in that country.
My local pub got me onto the idea (I say local pub but we have choice of 2 so it is best described as the posher one – more a la carte menu than pub grub). We were there on New Years Eve to celebrate Christmas (late as we were in Wales) with my mum and stepdad and we don’t usually go to this pub as it is a tad expensive (around £20 plus a head) but as it was once a year we thought we would indulge a little. For a while we were the only ones in the pub (until the made in chelsea crew rocked up- they looked a bit like those tossers anyway) and we had the undivided attention of the young lady publican and her soon-to-be other half (bit of a shotgun wedding as she is due in April).
When I went for a loo break there I saw a certificate proudly declaring that the toilet had been twinned with a loo in Burundi, complete with a picture of the loo which is basically a corrugated iron cubicle in the bush. Thankfully the picture was of the exterior of the loo.
I checked out their website when I got home (www.toilettwinning.org) and found that the money they raise from twinning goes to help install latrines and a water supply in some of the most deprived areas in Africa and India. You don’t often think about the hazards of not having access to loos but there are many, namely: diseases and illnesses caused by poor hygiene (such as diarrhoea) which can be fatal particularly for children and infants – I remember watching a sport relief report from John Bishop when a 6 year old girl died because of diarrhoea and John watched as her body was wrapped up and taken away while her mother screamed in despair – it was this that motivated John Bishop to do his marathon journey from France to England to raise money for the Sport/ Comic Relief campaign in Africa. Other hazards include girls and women being more susceptible to sexual attacks as they have to squat in public to pee and also snake bites!
So, I looked into the cost of twinning my loo and it costs £60 which is the cost of installing one latrine. Or you can pay £250 to install a whole toilet block for a school. Sixty pounds is a lot for us but when you think about it, its the cost of filling up our car with diesel so I’m sure we can stretch to buying a loo in Burundi or the DR in Africa. My birthday is coming up so I am going to ask my husband if he can buy me the loo….
I am blogging every day for Unicef – a charity that is also working to improve sanitation and hygiene in third world communities and schools. If you are able to support the campaign, please visit my page on the Unicef fundraising site.
Thanks for reading.