Visiting our friends Ruth and Damian about a year ago we noticed that they had twinned their toilet. The money raised by this clever idea is spent on providing safe, clean toilets for people in developing countries. It’s something we take for granted in our part of the world, but actually 2.5 billion people don’t have suitable sanitary facilities.
They ask for a donation of GBP £60, which goes towards providing toilets for countries in various parts of the world. Apparently it can cost between £10 and £100 to build such facilities, depending on the circumstances. In return your toilet is twinned with a recently built toilet in a country of your choosing – and you get a nice framed certificate to display. As with many charity schemes this serves the dual purpose of making you feel good about yourself (not so important) and spreading the word (very important). I think it’s a very clever way to spread the word – when you visit friends that’s one room you usually end up spending time in, right?
We chose to twin with a toilet in Ethiopia, not least as my neice and nephew are both half-Ethiopian. They provide you with the GPS coordinates of “your” toilet’s location. Ours is located in a village south of Addis Ababa.
(Actually, this is the second time we’ve done this, as our friend Paul pointed out that, having moved house recently, we were cheating by moving the twinning certificate too. It was in fact the toilet in our old place in Meyrin that was twinned with a toilet in Burkina Faso. Hence this new twinning. It was nice to see that in just over a year the Latrine No. has risen from 977 to more than 80,000. Clearly this idea is going viral.)