It’s easy to take a simple toilet for granted.

But imagine if you didn't have one at home or at school, or even in hospital. What would you do?

Not having a decent toilet is dangerous for so many reasons. It means there's nowhere to treat or manage human waste properly, so germs get into water sources and food, spreading diseases like diarrhoea and cholera. It means people have to go to the loo outside, which is especially unsafe for women and children. And it means people stop going to work and school if they're poorly, or on their period.

How many people don't have a toilet?

The facts can look stark: 2 billion people in the world – one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.

What a bad toilet looks like

This latrine in West Point, Liberia, has no running water or electricity. The human waste falls directly into the seawater below, near the beach which many people use to bathe.

WaterAid/Ahmed Jallanzo

How does WaterAid help people access toilets?

Slowly, we're making progress - since the year 2000, 2.1 billion people have gained access to decent toilets. That means somewhere safe, private and clean to go to the loo, limiting the spread of disease. That also means more people can stay in work and school, stay healthy and retain their dignity.

So we know that toilets, along with clean water and good hygiene practices, really do save lives. But there’s still a long way to go, which is why we…

Persuade governments and decision makers

that building and maintaining toilets is a great investment. Not only because they're a human right, but because they make a huge difference to people's prospects.

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WaterAid/Basile Ouedraogo

Listen to people and communities

to understand what their needs are. We know the same solution doesn't work for everyone, so we work with local people to design services that are long lasting.

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WaterAid/Chileshe Chanda

Help groups that are often excluded

claim their rights to decent toilets. Only when everyone in a community uses toilets will people’s health and livelihoods improve. We make sure no one is forgotten.

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WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

Good toilets in action

Toilets don't just save lives, they can help them flourish too. Watch our video to see how a composting toilet gave Flossy and her family extra income, an education and more opportunities.

Give a gift

Got a birthday or anniversary coming up? Make your gift mean more by changing someone’s life.

Read about our work

Our work with toilets is varied, from accessibility to periods to faecal sludge management.

World Toilet Day

19 November was World Toilet Day. To mark the occasion we, with our partners Andrex, brought an installation to London's Boxpark.