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There isn’t much value in providing safe, accessible drinking water if the people urgently needing it contaminate themselves and their water because they don’t have adequate sanitation facilities -- namely toilets and hand-washing stations.
Therefore, when Lifewater sees a need, we help a community to build toilets and hand-washing stations. Most are at schools, orphanages, or medical clinics.
The toilets are very basic by North American standards -- "squat" style, with a bucket of nearby water to create a flushing action.
The first step in constructing community toilets is deciding on a suitable site. It must be centrally located and therefore accessible to as many people as possible, but far enough from the community water well to reduce the risk of contaminating it. The site also needs to be safe for women and children to use without fearing they might be assaulted.
After a suitable spot has been identified, the next step is to gather the basic building materials, including sand, gravel, and concrete blocks.
Then it’s time for some of the toughest work -- digging the hole for the septic tank.
The septic tank hole must be lined with concrete blocks mortared together.
While the septic tank construction is happening, the foundation for the toilet building is mapped out and excavated.
Then the walls go up.
We add a wooden roof, covered with corrugated steel, then plaster all the walls.
In the photo below, the plastering is finished and a cement pad has been placed over the septic tank.
Now we tile the floors, and add the shutters and doors.
Next comes the painting, inside and out.
We add the hand-washing station, and the facility is ready for use.
But there is still one final and very vital step -- a health and hygiene workshop for everyone in the community to learn the potentially life-saving importance of hand-washing, plus other valuable health information including how to recognize and guard against various illnesses including malaria.
If you would like to fund some or all of the cost of building a community toilet and hand-washing station, please contact us.