Above: SNV is working to provide equitable, universal access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene for over 275,000 people, supported by the Australian Government, through Water for Women.

Water for Women celebrates World Toilet Day | 19th November 


Today on World Toilet Day, we celebrate the role of safe, accessible toilets as a building block of healthy and resilient communities.

But today is not just about toilets, it is also about the important role of the systems and people that surround and support adequate toilets to ensure they are sustainable and can withstand the impacts of climate change.

Believe it or not, they are a crucial part of building resilience of communities to endure and recover from the increasingly severe impacts of climate change. Impacts that are getting worse - flood, drought, cyclones and rising sea levels are threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants.

Everyone must have sustainable sanitation that can withstand the effects of climate change and keep communities healthy and prosperous.

This is why it is so critical to  reach the 4.2 billion people around the world who lack access to safe and sustainable toilets, particularly those who are most excluded either economically, socially and/or geographically, and therefore the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

World Toilet Day is not only about toilets, it is about sustainable and accessible sanitation; it is about clean water and good hygiene that go hand-in-hand with sanitation and together, build healthy and resilient communities, and a strong defence against COVID-19.


World Toilet Day isn’t just about toilets, it’s about the systems that surround them 

Water for Women WASH Specialist, Matthew Bond reflects on how far sanitation has come


Our Water for Women partners are working hard to ensure that all people within communities not only have access to a toilet, but that the systems that support and maintain toilet infrastructure are robust.

Building sustainable and resilient sanitation is happening in many different and interesting ways through our partners’ work, designed to suit the local context and conditions of the project areas in which they are operating, across 15 countries in Asia and the Pacific. Below we share their work


So what makes a toilet Sustainable? 

Approaches to sustainability are many and varied across Water for Women


A young couple stand smiling in front of their newly built sanitation supply business

An equitable business is a sustainable business


iDE has long believed that as the sanitation market matures in Cambodia, the most agile latrine producing entrepreneurs will shift towards the model of a general hardware store. The story of Sovan and and her husband Bunsieng illustrates this perfectly, they are among those leading the charge, innovating and growing with the market. They proudly demonstrate that an equitable business is a sustainable business.


Ms. Romdol Sovan smiled as she opened her arms, pointing at the racks of accessories, toilets, sink fixtures, and other home and construction material on display in her store. One year ago, this was an empty plot of land.

For years Sovan owned and operated a beauty salon in neighbouring Banteay Meanchey province while her husband, Mr. Chhin Bunsieng, ran a small brick-making and latrine construction business in their home province of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The two had long discussed starting another business in Siem Reap that would allow them to live and work together. Plans had stalled lately and the couple weren't sure if this business dream would ever become a reality.

iDE had been working with Sovan's husband, Bunsieng, as a local latrine business owner for years and had gotten to know the family well. iDE is focused on supporting private sector delivery of sanitation in Cambodia, as part of their Water for Women project, WASH-SUP2, the team approached Sovan with an offer to join a business incubator program for female entrepreneurs and she leapt at the chance!


Read their story


a tropical scene at informal settlement in Suva, Fiji with a house, people surveying and trees

A toilet for every informal settlement household in Suva, Fiji

Hard at work in Suva, Fiji, our research partner, Monash University is ensuring that all households have access to a toilet, and all toilets are connected to a wastewater treatment system. Sustainable sanitation systems are life changing.


This work is park of the the Revitalising Informal Settlements and their Environments program (RISE), supported by the Australian Government in both Fiji and Indonesia, through Water for Women.

RISE’s interventions in informal settlements aim to reduce community exposure to contamination as a result of poor sanitation management. Making sure all households have access to a toilet, and connecting all toilets to a wastewater treatment system, is key to ensuring safe and healthy living environments for all.


Read more 


A woman in Pakistan wearing a mask stands in front of a group of community members sharing information on WASH and hygiene

Promoting safe and inclusive WASH through interfaith harmony in Pakistan


“I am thankful to IRC and all the villagers for their support and trust,” says Komariya. “We have started the journey but it will not stop here. I have already started promoting menstrual hygiene management at village level and our journey will continue till we have achieved our objective of dignified life for all.”


Our partner International Rescue Committee is empowering communities to take charge of their sanitation. Sometimes all it takes is one passionate person to transform a village...this is the story of Ms. Komariya.


Read more


Smiling man who is a village sanitation promoter sits in front of workers building a toilet

Achieving sanitation for all by bridging the gap between households and the private sector 


"We wanted to have a toilet for a long time, but we did not know how much it costs, where to buy the materials, or how to construct it."

Villager in Lao PDR


Our partner SNV is working to achieve sanitation for all to reach the 60% of rural households in Lao PDR that don’t have access to a toilet. They are connecting businesses with sanitation entrepreneurs to make toilets more affordable and accessible for all.


To better understand the reasons behind so many households not having a toilet, SNV conducted a supply chain analysis in 2019 which identified some key barriers that prevent households from building a toilet:

  • limited technical knowledge,
  • its (perceived) high cost, and
  • a time-consuming and cumbersome process; starting from the purchase of materials to actual toilet installation.

Read how they are overcoming these barriers by bridging the gap between households and the private sector.


Read more


Dignity - premiering today!

Watch Thrive Network's beautiful new short film, Dignity. In Vietnam, Thrive's Water for Women project, Women-led Output Based Aid (WOBA) is supporting vulnerable households in replacing rudimentary, unsafe latrines, such as fish pond toilets, with modern, safe and hygienic facilities. This film captures the impact that this can have on a family by following Mrs Yen and her Auntie and their experience.



Woman sanitation promoter speaks to a crowd outdoors about the importance of a safe toilet

Women sanitation promoters are strengthening the voice and participation of women villagers in Lao PDR


In Lao PDR, our partner SNV Netherlands Development Organisation is creating opportunities for women to be part of the drive to ensure rural households can access a safe toilet with some very positive initial results.

To create demand for safe toilets in three districts of Savannakhet province, SNV and the government district water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) teams trained village sanitation promoters, including women, on the importance of sanitation, demand triggering and sanitation marketing as well as providing coaching on self-confidence, facilitation and presentation.

The early successes of sanitation promotion by women has shown what is possible when women are given the opportunities and the voice that would once have gone exclusively to men. Not only are they helping their community members access safe sanitation, through women engaging with women on the topic, they also have an innate understanding of the specific needs of women when it comes to sanitation and their customers feel comfortable expressing these needs.


Read the full story



Woman smiles happily showing off her newly constructed latrine

Ms. Va Sothe is one of over 15,000 poor homeowners who have purchased a high-quality latrine with the support of an iDE targeted subsidy 

Leaving no one behind: leveraging targeted subsidies to close the sanitation gap


Until recently, Ms Va and her daughter have had to rely on the kindness of neighbours sharing their toilets or sometimes even resort to defecating in an open field nearby.

Buying a toilet for their home, a significant investment in rural Cambodia, had always seemed out of reach for Ms. Va and her daughter. 

This all changed in February, when she met an iDE sales agent selling partially subsidised toilets and latrine shelters for households that are registered by the government as poor. This work is part of their Water for Women project, Cambodia Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Scale Up Program - WASH-SUP2, which is focusing on private sector delivery to achieve SDG6 - sanitation and water for all. Their work has so far reached 142,000 people with basic or safely managed sanitation!

iDE's work incudes targeted subsidies for poor and vulnerable households. Being classified as "IDPoor" Ms Va was found out that she qualified for a discounted price for a latrine, which was now in her budget range - she leapt at the opportunity and was finally able to purchase her very own toilet.


Read more


World Toilet Day is celebrated on November 19th.

On World Toilet Day, we celebrate the role of safe, accessible toilets as a building block of healthy and resilient communities.

But World Toilet Day is not just about toilets, it is also about the important role of the systems and people that surround and support adequate toilets to ensure they are sustainable and can withstand the impacts of climate change.

Water for Women partners are working hard to ensure all people within communities have access to safe and sustainable sanitation.

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