Shocking reality of sanitation crisis faced by billions brought to London's doorstep

16 November 2018
Image: WaterAid/Getty Images

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16 November 2018: A quick trip to the loo is taken for granted by almost every Brit, yet one in three people around the world do not have a clean and safe toilet of their own. This weekend, Andrex® and WaterAid are bringing the global sanitation crisis faced by 2.3 billion people around the world to the attention of the country’s capital, at a pop-up installation in London’s Shoreditch Boxpark.

From 16 November until World Toilet Day on Monday 19 November, Londoners will be able to see the shocking sanitary conditions millions of people around the world are forced to live with, and read first-hand accounts from communities who are suffering the effects of poor sanitation.

The striking scene, reminiscent of many unplanned urban settlements around the world, has been built as part of Andrex and WaterAid’s Toilets Change Lives initiative, to show the harsh reality for families across the globe living without a decent toilet; as well as highlighting how such basic facilities can transform lives, improving health, keeping girls in school, and helping families thrive.  

Hosted in one of London’s trendiest corners, on The Green at Boxpark, the reimagining of the space coincides with the launch of WaterAid’s State of the World’s Toilets 2018 report, The Crisis in the Classroom. Released today, it reveals that the education and health of 620 million children – 10 times the population of the UK – is compromised by a lack of decent school toilets. 

Every day, 800 children die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. A lack of sanitation impacts the education of girls disproportionately. In Bangladesh alone, an overwhelming 40% of girls miss school during their periods due to the lack of decent toilets – an average of three days every cycle. Without a decent toilet of their own, women and children are often forced to put themselves in vulnerable situations just to relieve themselves in privacy. 

Now in its second year, Andrex and WaterAid’s Toilets Change Lives initiative has already transformed the lives of thousands of people by constructing new or renovating existing public toilets in Bangladesh. 

Sanjida Akhter, 15, used to share a toilet with 30 people in her neighbourhood, both men and women. Sanjida said: “When I went to the bathroom I had to hold my nose with one hand and the door with the other as the lock was broken from the inside. As a result of the germs, I often had an upset stomach, which meant missing school, getting in the way of my studies.”

Thanks to Toilets Change Lives, people like Sanjida and her community have benefitted from a new public toilet, meaning that women can now use the toilet with dignity and privacy. In Sanjida’s case, two female staff have also been appointed to take care of the public toilet. “This provides me with a sense of security,” Sanjida added.

A Kimberly-Clark spokesperson said: 

“We believe that everyone, everywhere should have access to these basic facilities as a human right. Working with WaterAid, we’ve already achieved great progress, providing thousands of people with shared sanitation facilities and improving the public health and dignity of urban communities in Bangladesh. Our hope is that the Boxpark installation will encourage people to talk about the sanitation crisis and make them feel motivated and empowered to support this worthy cause.” 

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid’s Chief Executive, said: 

“It is unacceptable that one in three children around the world are being held back from fulfilling their potential because they don’t have a decent toilet. All children need this basic essential at home and at school for their health, education and safety. We’re delighted to be working with a household name like Andrex to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis this World Toilet Day, and help bring us closer to the day when everyone, everywhere has a decent toilet.  

“The world has promised toilets for all by 2030, but despite some progress, this ambitious target is a long way off from being met. If we are serious about all children and young people having clean water and sanitation, we must take decisive and inclusive action now.”  
Through the Toilets Change Lives initiative Andrex will donate a minimum of £480,000 to WaterAid by 2020. 

To find out how you can do more visit


For more information, please contact:
Dani McCarthy, Senior Media Officer, [email protected] or
+44 (0)207 793 5005. 

Notes to Editor

The Installation is at Boxpark in London’s Shoreditch, from Friday 16 November – Monday 19 November from 10am-6pm. Free Admission. 

About Kimberly-Clark 

Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) and its trusted brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 175 countries. Fueled by ingenuity, creativity, and an understanding of people’s most essential needs, we create products that help individuals experience more of what’s important to them. 

Our portfolio of brands, including Huggies, Kleenex, Scott, Kotex, Cottonelle, Poise, Depend, Andrex, Pull-Ups, GoodNites, Intimus, Neve, Plenitud, Viva and WypAll, hold the No. 1 or No. 2 share position in 80 countries. We use sustainable practices that support a healthy planet, build stronger communities, and ensure our business thrives for decades to come. 

To keep up with the latest news and to learn more about the company's 146-year history of innovation, visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25.8 million people with clean water and 25.1 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAidUK or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook at

  • 844 million people in the world – one in nine – do not have clean water close to home.[1]

  • 2.3 billion people in the world – almost one in three – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]

  • Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]

  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]

  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

  • To find out if countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, see the online database


[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines


[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage


Toilets Change Lives

In 2017, Andrex raised £140,000 for WaterAid, improving hundreds of thousands of lives. Without clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene, disease spreads fast. Children are too sick to go to school and parents are too ill, or busy looking after their families, to work. The Toilets Change Lives campaign, in partnership with international development charity WaterAid, aims to help ensure everyone everywhere has access to these life-saving facilities.

In the first year of the initiative, Andrex and WaterAid reconstructed and built four new public toilets in Dhaka and Chittagong. More specifically - two reconstructions of public toilet blocks in Dhaka and one in Chittagong as well as one newly constructed toilet block in Chittagong. Providing thousands of people with public sanitation facilities within the first 12 months, and improving the public health and dignity of urban communities in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Since 2014, Kimberly Clark’s Toilets Change Lives initiative has expanded into 15 countries helping more than 900,000 people gain access to good sanitation. Toilets Change Lives has worked extensively across communities in Africa, Latin America, and Asia targeting the communities most affected. The initiative is a collaboration with leading NGOs such as UNICEF, Water For People, and in the UK, WaterAid.