Spending a penny to help the poorest

Maxwell Mearns raise funds to provide toilets
Maxwell Mearns raise funds to provide toilets

All sorts of strange looks come your way when you say you have been fundraising for toilet twinning.

In reality, the concept is simple. You raise a certain amount of money and send this to the Toilet Twinning charity.

They then use the money to deliver education programmes to some of the poorest communities in the world by building new latrines or toilet blocks.

A one-off £60 donation is all it takes to ‘twin’ one toilet. In return, you get a framed certificate with a photograph and GPS co-ordinates of the toilet you have ‘twinned’ with.

A staggering 2.4 billion people – more than a third of the worlds’ population – do not currently have access to safe, hygienic toilet facilities. The education is a crucial part as it draws local people together and gently explains to them the importance of good hygiene and the benefits to their health and their communities’ wellbeing.

In February this year, 1st Maxwell Mearns Rainbows, Brownies and Guides held a joint ‘water themed’ activity day where they learnt about toilet twinning and started fundraising. The girls each painted a small ceramic duck ‘piggy’ bank. These were taken home and families and friends were encouraged to ‘spend a penny to spend a penny’ each time they used their toilet.

Ducks were also placed in the toilets at Maxwell Mearns Church where the girls meet on Wednesday evenings.

Over the 4 months until the end of June, the 3 units (about 60 girls) raised an impressive £600. A further £120 was raised by one of the youngest Rainbows at Easter, allowing 2 more toilets to be twinned.

The hope was to raise enough money to twin the 3 ladies toilets in the church halls. That target was quickly met and enough money was raised to twin all 8 toilets in the building with money left for a further 4 toilets.