We love toilets - wait, what?

November 19th marks World Toilet Day, a UN recognized day of action and activism to promote awareness of a basic need: sanitation. It is difficult for many of us to imagine what it would be like to not have access to a basic toilet, but for 2.5 billion people around the globe, it is the reality they face each day. 

At FIMRC's Project Restauración in the Dominican Republic, many families are without access to toilets. After a community diagnostic, it was determined that building latrines would significantly enhance the quality of life for members of the community in Restauración. 

Project Restauración's Field Operations Manager, Joe South, explains FIMRC's latrine project

The latrine project in Restauración is not only the construction of bathrooms but the promotion of a behavioral change towards overall hygiene and sanitation. Each family receiving a latrine is required to go through a half day seminar on the various oral-fecal routes which lead to diarrhea and parasites, as well as contribute to the construction of each latrine via manual labor. Not only that, in each latrine site FIMRC will construct a hands free hand washing station to further promote overall cleanliness. It is a multifaceted approach that actively involves the immediate family and will hopefully diminish the instances of diarrhea and cholera in the area.

 Field Operations Manager Joe South and FIMRC Fellow Jamie Conover constructing one of fourteen latrines at Restauración.

Field Operations Manager Joe South and FIMRC Fellow Jamie Conover constructing one of fourteen latrines at Restauración.

The success of the latrine has been made possible by the support of the community at Restauración, as said best by  Augustin Valerio Martinez, the lead mason for this project

This is a necessary project that FIMRC is doing in the community. These families, although they are Haitians, are part of our town. They work alongside us (Dominicans), raise their children with ours, why shouldn't they be afforded the same comforts as most of us?

 In addition to building fourteen latrines in the area, FIMRC staff and volunteers have installed hands-free hand-washing stations to promote healthy hygiene habits. 

In addition to building fourteen latrines in the area, FIMRC staff and volunteers have installed hands-free hand-washing stations to promote healthy hygiene habits. 

For more information about World Toilet Day, visit www.worldtoiletday.org and for more information about FIMRC's work at Project Restauración, click here.