Meet our sanitation superheroes

Image: Eliza Powell

Meet some of the amazing workers around the world designing, building and cleaning the toilets that help save lives.

Toilets really are incredible. And the best thing about them is they do more than you could ever imagine: they help people have better health, dignity, safety and so much more.

Here we introduce some of the inspiring people transforming lives in their communities with decent toilets.

Ernest, toilet builder, Burkina Faso

Ernest builds a new latrine in Zongo, Burkina Faso.
Image: WaterAid/Nyani Quarmyne/Panos

Ernest is a member of a team of toilet builders in Zongo, Burkina Faso.

With limited access to decent toilets in the town, people often have no choice but to go outside – increasing the risk of the spread of deadly diseases such as diarrhoea.

But Ernest’s hard work and dedication have convinced people in the community of the importance of decent toilets – and even encouraged them to learn how to build their own.

“I love my job,” says Ernest. “I think the new toilets have made a huge improvement to the community – there will be far fewer diseases.”

Chanda, community toilet caretaker, India

Chanda at her community's new toilet block in Delhi, India.
Image: WaterAid/Eliza Powell

“I work to protect and help the dignity of my community,” says Chanda, a toilet caretaker in Delhi, India.

Chanda’s district used to have no access to decent toilets. But after working with our local partner, FORCE, the community gained access to a new toilet block. This greatly reduced the risk of sexual harassment for women and girls while looking for a discreet place to relieve themselves.

Chanda now works to keep the new facilities spick and span, and to help ensure her neighbours are safe and healthy.

“Keeping the toilets clean is my favourite thing about my job. I like it because there are no more diseases now – the children and community are happy.”

Jane, Glastonbury Festival Sanitation Manager, UK

Glastonbury Festival Toilet Manager Jane Healy (right) stands with Sita Devi (centre) and her daughter Nirjala outside their house in Delhi, India.
Image: WaterAid/Eliza Powell

For the past few years, Jane has been taking care of over 5,000 toilets at the world’s greatest music festival.

“It’s a non-stop job during the festival, but it’s good it’s busy," says Jane. "That’s why I like it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

And at this year’s festival, we were excited to introduce our superstar Loo Crew. They cleaned the toilets at 34 ‘long drop’ sites, alongside our other teams of volunteers working at the composting loos, toilets for disabled people, and our revolutionary female urinals, the ShePees.

“We work really hard to provide enough nice toilets for everyone. And now we’ve even got WaterAid helping to clean them!”