United Methodist Committee on Relief

World Toilet Day: “Now We Are Safer”

Bringing attention to the global sanitation challenge in observance of World Toilet Day, Nov. 19.
Josefa Amador said her community is safer after a well, washing station and latrine were installed.

By Susan Kim*

November 12, 2015—Josefa Bravo Amador, who raised two children as a single mother, remembers life before her community in Nicaragua had a well, washing station, and latrines.

“We gathered water in watering holes in a neighboring farm and bathed in the stream. We went to the fields to do our business, but many times there was danger of a snake bite. MINSA [Nicaraguan Health Ministry] came often to give us pills for parasites; they said the illnesses we had — like diarrhea and rashes — were from parasites.”

Now,” said Amador, “we are safer.” Through a partnership with the local Nicaraguan organization El Porvenir, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) helped bring a well, washing station, and latrines to Amador’s community.

“There is no danger of being bitten by an animal or getting a belly sickness from drinking dirty water,” she said. “The children and my grandchildren, who live here with us, don’t get sick so often. We live healthier now.”

World Toilet Day: How to Get Involved

Founded in 2001 by the international nonprofit “,” World Toilet Day is observed annually on Nov. 19 as an international day of action to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.

Across the world, 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, and this has dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.

This year’s theme for World Toilet Day is “Equality, Dignity, and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation.” It seeks to put a spotlight on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy as well as the inequalities that are present in usability.  

UMCOR not only participates in World Toilet Day, it also works with local organizations year-round in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs that help improve hundreds of lives like Amador’s around the world.

You can also contribute to UMCOR’s WASH programs on #GivingTuesday — a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration — on Dec. 1, pointed out Mike Barbee, UMCORs WASH technical officer.

“By getting involved, you can help vulnerable communities gain better access to clean water by locating safe water sources, educating communities, and improving sanitation,” he said.

Participate in World Toilet Day on November 19, and learn more here. Please support UMCOR Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene programs with a donation to Advance #3020600.  

*Susan Kim is a journalist and a regular contributor to

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Participate in World Toilet Day on November 19, and learn more here. Please support UMCOR Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene programs with a donation to Advance #3020600.