Toilet Poverty

What Is Sanitation Poverty?

Sanitation poverty is when a person lacks a private space for bathroom needs with proper waste management that prevents illness and disease. Those of us with abundant access to facilities may not have ever considered this side of poverty before.

As UNICEF explains, “Universal access to adequate sanitation is a fundamental need and human right. Securing access for all would go a long way in reducing illness and death, especially among children.”[1]

Imagine being a little girl in South Asia. It’s nearly bedtime, but before you can lay down to sleep, you need to go to the bathroom. There is no toilet in or near your home, so you make your way through the bushes and brush to find somewhere to go, but it’s dangerous outside. The dangers include wild animals, improper hygiene and predatory men. This is the reality for millions of people worldwide.[1] [2]

It’s not just about that little girl. It’s about the villages, communities, and countries that suffer greatly because of lack of proper sanitation.

The World Bank proposes, “The benefits of tackling the challenges of sanitation are manifold. Improved sanitation leads to lower disease burden, improved nutrition, reduced stunting, improved quality of life, increased attendance of girls at school, healthier living environments, better environmental stewardship, increased job opportunities and wages, improved competitiveness of cities, and economic and social gains to society more broadly.”[3]

In fact, World Bank suggests that addressing sanitation is one of the key drivers in ending extreme poverty altogether.[4] This is because it touches so many parts of a person’s life, including health, ground water, crops and economic development. If a village is plagued by disease that comes from open defecation issues, then many will not be able to work, keeping them in poverty and laying waste to the land where they live.

GFA World sees these connections every day through the eyes of our missionaries. Helping people escape the cycle of poverty includes addressing things like sanitation. That is why we offer toilet facility installations for villages and families. Bringing dignity, cleanliness and waste management to a village is not a small thing for many places in the world.

You can help bring a toilet or toilet facilities to villages with a gift of $540. This is a small investment for a solution to so many ills that families, especially in rural areas, face. You might also consider creating a GFA fundraiser with friends and family to help raise this amount, joining together in God’s good work of provision.

Learn more about toilet poverty

[1] “Sanitation.” UNICEF. Updated July 2021.
[2] Saleem, Mahrukh; Burdett, Teresa; Heaslip, Vanessa. “Health and social impacts of open defecation on women: a systematic review.” BMC Public Health. February 6, 2019.
[3] “Sanitation.” World Bank. Updated Oct. 6, 2022.
[4] Ibid.