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: almost 1.7 billion people in the world – more than one in five – 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?

Since 2000, almost 2.7 billion people have gained decent toilets of their own.  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.  And this progress continues, albeit slower than it needs to be in some countries.

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.

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.

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.

WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

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

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Best Seat in the House

We teamed up with RANKIN to launch a galloory to raise awareness of the almost 1.7 billion people who don't have access to a decent toilet.

Read about our work

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