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Twin your toilet: make girls safer


World Toilet Day, Isle of Man, Dundee, Manchester, Stormont, toilet twinningMore than a third of the people on the planet don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo.

That’s 2.4 billion people, to be more precise.

Not having a loo puts people at risk of being bitten by snakes as they squat in the grass and makes women and girls a target for sexual assault as they go to the toilet in the open.

And every minute, a child under the age of five dies because of dirty water and poor sanitation.

The Toilet Twinning project raises funds to provide safe latrines, clean water and hygiene education in some of the poorest nations, by inviting people to twin their own loo with a latrine abroad.

By twinning your toilet, you help those in desperate poverty to have access to a proper latrine, clean water and the information they need to be healthy.

Your smallest room becomes the proud owner of a certificate, complete with a colour photo of its twin and GPS coordinates so you can look up your twin on Google Maps.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bawili is a widow who lost everything because of civil war. And the lack of proper water and a decent toilet caused her family great problems. But when the community came together to help Bawili and her children and provided them with toilet facilities, everything changed.

“My daughter was attacked because we didn’t have a toilet. Having a loo is a big relief for the whole family,” she explained.

Manchester students’ big push to flush away poverty earned them a top toilet accolade – as they become the first Toilet Twinned College in the UK.

Loreto Sixth Form College in Hulme was presented with the Toilet Twinning award earlier this year, in recognition of their tireless efforts to fund latrines in poor countries.

Over the course of three fundraising drives since 2011, Loreto staff and students have raised more than £9,000 in total – enough to provide toilets for more than 150 families.

Soroptimists International Dundee galvanised Dundonians across the city to twin the toilets at home, school and work – and in total, more than 80 Toilet Twinning certificates are being hung with pride in toilets in Dundee – and more than £7,000 has been donated to Toilet Twinning’s international work.

This has won Dundee the accolade of being Scotland’s first Toilet Twinned City.

The Isle of Man today became the world’s first Toilet Twinned Island in March this year.

A special loo-themed van topped with a toilet made a Toilet Tour of the island – billed as an alternative TT – visiting landmark loos en route, to celebrate Manx campaigners winning this prestigious award.

Over the past two years, Islanders have been on a roll, ‘twinning’ with more than 130 latrines and a school block overseas, through the charity initiative Toilet Twinning. It raises funds to provide proper toilets, clean water and hygiene education in developing countries, by encouraging people in the UK to twin their loo and fund a latrine abroad.

And in Northern Ireland, MLAs from the All-Party Group for International Development, along with representatives from the Coalition of Aid and Development Agencies in Northern Ireland, recently marked the official twinning of two toilets at Stormont Assembly with two latrines in Uganda.

A ‘Spend a Penny’ fundraising initiative had encouraged MLAs to donate towards the cost of twinning two of the main toilets in the Great Hall at the Stormont Buildings.

Their celebratory event took place shortly after the United Nations’ World Toilet Day on 19 November.

Susan Bennett, Toilet Twinning Fundraising Manager, Northern Ireland, said: “One in three people worldwide don’t have a toilet.

“By providing hygienic toilets we are able to prevent the spread of disease as well as bring dignity and safety to women and girls who no longer have to walk to the edge of their community late at night.”

Toilet Twinning is a simple, quirky way to solve a serious problem and save lives. For more information about how it works, click here. To follow us on facebook, click here.

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