Uganda visit to highlight world toilet day

6 November 2014
Chris Watson, from Blithfield will travel to Uganda with international development charity WaterAid this month to mark this year's World Toilet Day on 19th November.

Chris, an Education Co-ordinator for South Staffs Water in Walsall has been chosen to represent the company on the week-long trip along with fundraisers from 13 other water companies. She was chosen because her experience will support the design and delivery of South Staffs Water's education programmes with local schools. She will meet with communities to find out what life is like without safe water and toilets and visit WaterAid projects in both urban slums and rural villages to see how the money raised by South Staffs Water employees is making a difference.

Astonishingly, 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to a toilet, that's one in three of the world’s population. Where there is nowhere safe, clean and private to go to the toilet, people are exposed to disease and face the daily indignity of having to defecate in the open which leaves them vulnerable. During Chris's time in Uganda WaterAid will be demonstrating how lives are transformed through water, sanitation and hygiene projects.

Chris Watson said: "Clean water and toilets are things we take for granted here in the UK, but for some people they're a luxury. Just imagine if we couldn't turn on the tap, go to the loo, have a shower, wash our children - they have no choice but to use whatever water they can find. That very water could make them ill, or could cause a fatal sickness.

"WaterAid's projects bring so much more than just safe water and toilets. Access to basic facilities improves health, enables children to stay in education and frees-up time for people to start earning a living - this trip is a chance for me to see all of this for myself. I hope to use my experiences to inspire even more people to get involved once I get back."

Uganda has a population of almost 35 million. Diseases such as cholera and typhoid are rife throughout the country due to contaminated drinking water sources and poor sanitation. WaterAid estimates that only 37% of the population has adequate sanitation and 12,000 children under five die every year, as a result of this.

As part of the trip, to the Amuria District of Uganda, Chris will spend time in a remote village, with a local family living without clean water and a toilet, learning first-hand about the daily challenges for survival they face. She will also meet children from local schools, join in with some hygiene lessons, and learn how clean water is literally a life-saver. She may even get the chance to help build a family latrine – providing somewhere safe and clean for them to go to the toilet, away from danger of attack and disease.

Trip leader, Caroline Wakelin, from WaterAid, said: "The money raised by South Staffs Water fundraisers like Chris helps WaterAid change the lives of some of the world's poorest people. Once clean water and sanitation is in place, children can spend more time at school and women can go to work - instead of spending so much time collecting water, which is often fatally contaminated. This is a great opportunity for her to see first-hand how their hard work and generosity here has made a real difference to communities in Uganda."