We’ve just made our 2nd biggest donation in history, taking us to $1.8 million in total! In celebration, we’re dedicating our latest impact update to all things twos.
Your first best friend is too busy listening to your problems. But your second best friend? They’re totally free to help build more toilets. Kidding, get both of them to help you spread the word!Share! Share!
Oh hey everyone. I’m Danny.
When my team asked me to write this letter, I was flattered. But then I found out it was because I was their 2nd favourite co-founder. At least I’m not number 3 (sorry Jehan)!
Before we founded Who Gives A Crap, I worked for years in poverty alleviation across Africa, Asia and South America. My first project was designing an in-home sanitation system for low-income cities in Ghana (check it out here), and I realised quickly that toilets were my passion. They have the potential to transform the health and economic wellbeing of communities, and just as importantly, they provide dignity. It’s hard to imagine, but having a toilet for the first time is a life-changing experience.
It’s because of this that I’m so, so proud of our most recent donation. Our team has worked their bums off to make this happen, and you, our amazing supporters, are the reason we’ve been able to do this. So thank you!!
While we take a moment to celebrate this incredible accomplishment, we’re preparing to double our impact in the year to come because we know we can do better. And we’ll need your help.
By continuing to wipe with us, telling your friends to make the switch, and giving us feedback, you can help us have more impact.
Help us make this next year a #1, and in the meantime let’s celebrate our favourite #2s (because everyone knows they’re the best). Enjoy, and thank you again!
Danny, your #2 co-founder
PS—That picture up top is of me at Sanergy’s waste-treatment center outside of Nairobi, Kenya. I brought my family there for vacation. #obsessed
Wilson is nine years old, crazy cute and lives in the Liquica district, in Timor-Leste. Our charity partner WaterAid Australia has been working with his community to improve sanitation and clean water supply. The blue thing Wilson is standing next to is called a Sato Pan. You might not have seen one before, but they’re a pretty amazing and affordable solution for people living in low income areas.
Sato pans are a barrier between the latrine pit and the toilet. It makes going to the toilet way more hygienic. Without having pit latrines, most families like Wilson’s would have likely had to go out in the open, which, as you can imagine, is pretty unpleasant and unhygienic. Proper sanitation and access to clean water means all the difference, so thank you again for helping families like Wilson’s.
The lady in the top left picture is Ms. Chomroeun Ouen and she has an amazing story. Ms. Ouen has been making toilet parts for nearly 30 years from her home in the Pursat province, northwest of Phnom Penh.
When Ms. Ouen began her business, she was selling rainwater jars but was barely making enough to cover her expenses. Knowing she had to try something different, Ms. Oeun purchased one toilet mould on credit to test WaterSHED’s theory that she could profit from the sale of toilets. When she first started, she didn’t have the money to buy the rubble required to make the toilet parts. She’d scavenge for large rocks that she would chisel by hand to make some of the materials herself.
Ms. Ouen’s sales began to grow and today she is debt free. Her team of exclusively women construction workers (woot!) make enough parts for three to five households per day to purchase a toilet. Told you it was an amazing story!
We’re not all about #1s and #2s. That’s because we have five charity partners that we love equally.
Recently, the whole Who Gives A Crap team (pictured above!) went to Cambodia to visit our charity partners WaterAid Australia and WaterSHED and see some of the exciting projects they’ve been working on. We split into four vans (all different toilet paper themed of course!) and visited rural communities in the various stages of WASH (this stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). The three issues are often put together because they’re so interconnected. Improved sanitation doesn’t work if you’re not washing your hands, and if you have no water, then nothing works!
We saw and learned a lot, and we wanted to share back some of the highlights.
1. WaterSHED's "women in WASH" focus is inspiring – they’ve identified women's empowerment as a core value and then incorporate that into everything else they're doing
2. This is a catchy tune to educate young people about hand washing
3. While building toilets is important, you have to create an environment where lasting change can take place. That means community education, lobbying of government, support for toilet entrepreneurs who sell and make them, and so much more!
4. It’s really fun to paint a Paradise Shelter (it’s the world’s first flat packed latrine shelter for rural communities) like a toilet roll pattern
5. Toilets are a business opportunity! We met a woman who was a totally bad-ass entrepreneur who manufactures and sells concrete rings to make latrines in her community (amongst other side hustles like renting wedding decorations!)
But honestly, the biggest lesson we learned was in our own bathrooms.
Towards the end of the trip, a bunch of us got a food-poisoning-parasite-thing and a few of us got really ill. It definitely wasn’t fun but it was a real eye opener – especially when it hit on the last day of our community visits. We were privileged to have access to a nice toilet and medical care when so many billions of people in the world do not. It really hit home.
The trip to Cambodia inspired us in ways we could have never imagined, and for that we’re very grateful. We’re also never going to eat buffet ever again.