Clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene are vital for living a dignified, healthy life.

Toilets are incredible but their service is often taken for granted. By helping people to have better health, dignity and safety, toilets allow communities to thrive and develop. But for 2.3 billion people worldwide – almost one in three – such a basic human right is out of reach.

A lack of decent toilets and clean water causes diarrhoeal diseases that claim the lives of almost 800 children every day – one every two minutes. The health impacts of poor sanitation traps people in poverty, making it difficult to get an education or work to support their families.

 don't have a decent toilet of their own.

(WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2017)

Globally,  lack decent toilets.

JMP (2018) Drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in schools; Global baseline report

Every  invested in water and toilets returns an average of

(WHO, 2012)

Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets 


Diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets  


In 2016-17, we reached 2.3 million people with decent toilets.

(WaterAid, 2017)

Image: WaterAid/Tom Saater

For girls and women, the lack of toilets also affects their privacy and safety. They often wait until dark to find a quiet place to defecate, which increases the risk of being harassed or even sexually attacked.

Without toilets in schools, children are left to defecate in the open which makes them vulnerable to diarrhoeal illnesses and causes them to miss lessons. Girls, in particular, are affected by a lack of private toilets, and may stay home from school, or drop out completely, when they start their periods. This continues to reinforce and widen the gap between boys and girls, holding girls back from realising their full potential. Recruiting teachers into schools without decent toilets is also difficult.

That's why we don't just support local partners in installing toilets. We also create lasting change by training people in the communities to build, fix and maintain sanitation services, so that entire communities can unlock their potential and lead healthy, dignified lives.