On the blog

Monday, 22 November 2010

Guest post: ActiveDad on Toilets and Childhood

Toilets and childhood are linked from the very start of life although we prefer to skip past memories of Nappies of Mass Destruction. We teach our kids to use potties and toilets and they proudly show off the contents of a plastic potty like a pageboy carrying wedding rings on a velvet cushion. As they get older, parents are led by the hand (YUCK!) to the toilet to inspect the contents that have been dropped by the mini-Master Bomb Aimer.

The earliest jokes that they learn are about poo, wee and bums.

Why did Tigger look in the toilet?
He was looking for Pooh.

Girls seem to grow out of it while boys become men and are just as amused by poo jokes.

At ActiveDad we loved the idea of toilet twinning. Dads and their children giggle at toilet humour to disapproving looks. 'Pull my finger' might be disgraceful in polite company but a tug on a digit to elicit a parp will always amuse a kid (but not their mums). ToiletTwinning has hit on a winning formula for anybody who thinks that poo jokes are funny (so that's dads and kids).

We teach our kids to wash their hands, we teach them to wipe, we only take them to nice clean toilets and they know about germs making them sick. It is only a small step from that to understanding how awful it would be never to have a flushing toilet. Having a wee in the woods once in a while is very different to never having access to nice clean toilets. We ran the idea of Toilet Twinning past some kids and they loved it. They found the map of toilets that have been funded and they are desperate to get a "Twinned with a Bog in Burundi" certificate.

It is very easy for a child to understand the importance of a toilet and their imaginations are sparked by the idea of synchronised pooing. Will they be experiencing splashdown in the suburbs of London while a child in Africa gets to use a nice clean toilet at the same time?

As they get older, they will think about other matters like civil wars, third world debt, famine and disease but for now: pocket money has been offered and toilets will soon be twinned. ActiveDad will not have twee poems or dodgy doilies in the downstairs loo. Visitors (both young and old) will be able to sit on the throne and know that their toilet trip is being mirrored 5,000 miles away on a Burundi Bog.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Are you ready for Toilet Tuesdays?

Today is a very exciting day! You want to know why? Because from today, Toilet Twinning is bringing back toilet humour in a big way.

A toilet humour renaissance, if you will.

The best part is, we are going to be awarding prizes to anyone that tells us the best toilet joke, funniest toilet related story, video, or even just photos of your loo! Yes, even your toilet can be judged, a bit like ‘Bog-Idol’.

The contestants line up for the auditions in Manchester,
hoping to impress Simon Bowel.

We will be running this competition for the next two weeks in the run up to World Toilet Day on Friday 19th November. We want to celebrate the toilet and raise awareness of how 1 in 3 people across the world don’t have somewhere safe to go to the toilet.

Submit your joke, story or photo to us on Tuesday 9th, Tuesday 16th and finally World Toilet Day on the 19th.

Each week the prize (a £25 iTunes voucher) for the best photo, joke or funny story will be awarded to one entrant.

To Enter on Twitter:

• Post a link to your photo on Twitter here including an @reply to @ToiletTwinning on Twitter or using the #tag #toilettuesday

To Enter from the Toilet Twinning Blog (that’s here, obviously):

• Post a link to your photo in the comments on the Toilet Tuesday blog post

To Enter on Flickr:

• Add any photos to the “Toilet Tuesdays” collection on the Toilet Tuesdays Flickr Page here.

See the terms and conditions here, and get cracking on those entries, we can’t wait to see what you’ve got!

Good luck!

Guest post: Lis Martin - Durham students help more people access toilets in Africa

2.5 billion people don’t have access to adequate sanitation. That’s a horrifying statistic and in July last year, whilst working on a water project with Tearfund in Kigaze, Uganda, I quickly learnt that daily life without a toilet is extremely unpleasant. In the community in which I lived and worked it was totally normal for women and children to walk for four hours a day to collect diseased water. Girls miss school, carry phenomenal loads and are vulnerable to rape. Without basic toilets people lack dignity and safety. But I also witnessed the transformative impact that taps and toilets can have. I saw first hand how improving water and sanitation is at the heart of tackling poverty and building a better future. There’s less illness, children can attend school and women can work.

However, despite another appalling statistic: 5000 children die each day as a result of waterborne diseases, many governments around the world are ignoring this issue. After witnessing the daily struggle of that community in Kigaze and experiencing life without a toilet for just one month, I am passionate that this issue be given the attention and the finance that it has so far been deprived of. That’s why, on my return to the UK, I wanted to do everything in my power to raise awareness of this scandal and what we, ordinary individuals, can do to tackle sanitation poverty.

That’s when I came across Toilet Twinning, a partnership between Cord and Tearfund that provides a unique way to help transform lives in poor communities in Africa and across the world.. As a student at Durham University, I asked the student union to pass a motion to twin a toilet from each college with a toilet to be built in Burundi, Africa. The motion passed unanimously and so the Charities Committee and I organised a rag-raid on the streets of Edinburgh. £600 later and we placed our order for 10 toilets. Last week I delivered the certificates – each with a photo of the twinned latrine – to the Durham colleges and invited the local press and radio to cover the event.

Toilet Twinning is guaranteed to give countless people in this country a memorable trip to the loo. Not to mention the impact that it has for communities in Burundi. It’s novel, practical and long lasting. I thoroughly recommend getting your family, work place, school, and place of worship to twin their toilets. To have so many people in this world without life’s essentials in the 21st century is out of order. Toilet Twinning is a fantastic way to save and change the lives of many. Trust me – you’ll never find more grateful recipients.