FAQs

ABOUT US

  • History – where did the idea come from?

    Like all the greatest ideas, Toilet Twinning was born in the bathroom.

    It was in fact a concept conceived by our founder charity, Cord – a peace and reconciliation NGO.

    Back in 2008, Cord had an ‘alternative gift’ catalogue and the wife of one of Cord’s managers sponsored a bog in Burundi as a Christmas present to her husband.

    A picture of a latrine had a sticky note attached to it, bearing the words: ‘I’ve twinned your loo.’

    After a few months of developing and tweaking the concept, Cord launched Toilet Twinning. The initial target – to twin 500 toilets in Burundi – was reached in just three months. On a roll, Cord joined forces with Tearfund in 2010 to extend the number of countries where toilets could be twinned. Cord handed over the Toilet Twinning baton to Tearfund in 2015, enabling Cord to focus on its peace-building work. By then, Toilet Twinning had raised more than £2.3 million, and had twinned about 35,000 toilets in more than 40 countries. The story continues…

  • Do you only fund Christian projects?

    Toilet Twinning raises funds in support of Tearfund’s water and sanitation programme in around 25 countries across the world.

    Tearfund works through local church partners because it is recognised that local churches are well-placed to serve local people, because they tend to know who is most in need and they can implement culturally-appropriate, cost-effective, sustainable development programmes. This is recognised by UK AID; the UK Government makes significant grants to agencies like Tearfund because of the integrity of their approach, which is opposed to proselytism.

    Our partners work with the whole community to set up local water and sanitation committees; the programmes benefit people of all faiths, and none. Everyone in the community benefits as our partners explain the link between sanitation and health, and encourage households to build toilets, have clean water, and learn about hygiene principles.

CERTIFICATES AND DELIVERY

  • Christmas 2018 delivery dates

    Today – Monday 17th December – UK

    All orders to be placed before midnight to make Royal Mail’s final posting dates for these countries.

  • How will my certificate be delivered and how long will it take?

    Certificates within the UK are sent second class via Royal Mail. Our standard turnaround time for certificates is 5-6 days; however, you should allow up to 10 working days for your certificate to arrive after placing your order, especially during our busy Christmas months of November and December. If your certificate is for a gift and the big day is looming, please email us at info@toilettwinning.org and we’ll do everything we can to get your order out as quickly as possible.

    We ask you to consider adding a voluntary donation of £3 to cover the cost of sending a certificate, loo roll or soap to an address within the UK. If you choose to send a Gift Set within the UK, a mandatory charge of £4 will be added to your order to cover the additional P&P costs.

    You can also download a gift card to print yourself directly here:

    Anniversary

    Birthday

    Christmas

    Engagement

    Father’s Day

    Mother’s Day

    Generic

    Get well soon

    New home

    Valentines

    Wedding

  • My certificate hasn’t arrived yet!

    If your certificate hasn’t arrived and it’s been ten days or more, please get in touch. If you twinned the toilet in celebration of a special occasion and need it urgently (such as a wedding or a birthday) please do let us know and we will email you a Toilet Twinning voucher which you can print off and give to your friend/relative.

  • Is my name on the certificate?

    You can personalise your certificate with your name and/or the name of the person whose toilet is being twinned.

    The certificate also gives your latrine’s location and a set of longitude and latitude coordinates for that village.

  • Can I twin a friend’s loo and send direct to them?

    Yes – simply select a different delivery address when going through the checkout process and enter your friend’s details. If you are twinning a toilet via the post or on the phone, you can indicate on your order form or over the phone that you’d like the certificate to go to a different address. We can also include a small gift card with a message if you request this via email or phone.

  • How do the four-in-a-community and four-in-a-continent certificates work?

    If you would like to donate £240, and get a four-in-one certificate, you can select “Four in a community” or “Four in a continent” in the Twinning area.

    The Four-in-a-Community certificate features four household latrines from the same village in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A single set of GPS coordinates are given for the village as a whole.

    The Four-in-a-Continent certificate features household latrines from four different countries across Africa. These countries will change from time to time, depending on availability of photos. The Continent certificate will usually feature latrines from Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, plus two other countries with large water and sanitation programmes. GPS coordinates cannot be included on the Continent certificate.

  • GPS co-ordinates – how to use

    Longitude and latitude has been used for centuries by sailors, adventurers and explorers to help them pinpoint their exact location on earth. Here at Toilet Twinning we use it to keep track of the village locations where families are building toilets as a result of our educational programmes. We show the coordinates in decimal degrees, so please be sure to include the minus symbol if it’s on your certificate.

    To pinpoint the village location of the latrine photographed, you need to:

    • Visit Google Maps online by typing ‘maps.google.co.uk’ into your web browser
    • In the ‘Search Maps’ field, type the latitude number exactly as you see it on your certificate, including the “minus” at the start, if there is one, and the comma at the end. E.g. “-3.987150,”
    • Enter a “space”
    • Type the longitude number exactly as you see it. E.g. “29.918900”
    • Click search maps
    • The red pointer will be pointing to the village location of your toilet!

    Unfortunately, sometimes the images on Google Maps are not up-to-date, and occasionally there are inaccuracies on Google Maps with place names and spelling etc., especially when it involves small and remote towns in rural areas.

    For a while, we have not been giving exact GPS locations for latrines in Afghanistan or Myanmar, due to security concerns.

    As of July 2018, we have taken the decision that all certificates will only feature a set of GPS coordinates for the village location in which the toilet twin is situated, rather than the exact GPS location of the toilet photographed. This is to protect the privacy of all families who have their toilets featured within the Toilet Twinning initiative, and to make our administrative processes more efficient.

  • Orders from outside the UK

    We will send a Toilet Twinning certificate to pretty much anywhere in the world! The cost of twinning your toilet from overseas is £60 sterling, converted to your local currency. A good comparison is the exchange rates quoted at airports or other consumer currency exchange shops. A £7 sterling mandatory postage charge is added to your overseas order. If you choose to send a Gift Set overseas, a mandatory charge of £12 will be added to your order to cover the costs of overseas postage and packaging.

PAYMENT & FINANCIAL

  • How to pay

    Online: The easiest way is on here on the website where you can pay by debit or credit card.

    Cheque: If you would like to pay by cheque, please make it payable to Toilet Twinning, and send it with your an order form (which can be downloaded from the resources page of the website)
    To: Toilet Twinning, 1052-1054 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH7 6DS

    BACS Transfer: a payment can be made directly to the Toilet Twinning account, please contact us by email at info@toilettwinning .org or phone 0300 321 3217 for our bank details.

    Please include your name/school/organisation details in the reference field and email us with details of amount and date of transfer and wether you would like any certificates so we can track your donation.

  • Can I make regular donations to Toilet Twinning?

    If you would like to make regular donations please contact us via email info@toilettwinning.org or call 0300 321 3217 and we will send you out a standing order form to complete.

  • Can you give me your bank details / invoice?

    We will happily issue you with an invoice, please contact us by email at info@toilettwinning.org with details of your organisation name, address and donation amount and we will send one out to you.

    For our bank details – Please contact us by email at info@toilettwinning.org or phone 0300 321 3217

  • How your money us used

    Toilet Twinning funds the work of international relief and development agency Tearfund. Your donation is used to provide clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education.

    We don’t link individual donations from Toilet Twinning to specific villages, as the cost of administering this would reduce how much we are able to spend on actually delivering water & sanitation programmes. With your donation, our programmes ensure that people have access to clean water, learn about the importance of building a latrine and maintaining it, and also learn about hygiene principles such as hand-washing.

    Water, sanitation and hygiene education work together to prevent the spread of disease. Children are healthier, and able to go to school; parents are well enough to work their land and grow enough food to feed their family. With better health, and more ability to earn a living, men and women discover the potential that lies within them to bring transformation.

    When you twin your loo with a household latrine for £60, or a block of toilets, or four single toilets, for £240, you will receive a framed certificate (this makes an ideal present for someone!). The certificate features a photo of your twinned toilet or twinned block, and its coordinates so you can find it on Google Maps.

  • What about Gift Aid?

    The Gift Aid System allows Toilet Twinning to reclaim the tax on donations from UK taxpayers.

    Toilet Twinning can claim 25% back on every donation/toilet twinned ie. that’s £15 added to every £60 toilet twin – at no cost to you.

    You can make a Gift Aid declaration to Toilet Twinning if you are a UK taxpayer by completing the Gift Aid details when making payment on our website, or by completing the Gift Aid section on our order forms.

    Toilet rolls and soap bars are not eligible for Gift Aid.

  • What about CAF vouchers and Stewardship accounts?

    We accept donations through CAF Vouchers/Stewardship Vouchers & Charities Trust Vouchers – please make them payable to Tearfund, and post them to us with your completed order form (which can be downloaded from the resources page of the website) To: Toilet Twinning, 1052-1054 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH7 6DS

    To twin a toilet using your CAF Card, please visit CAF Online and search for Tearfund.

    Please write ‘Reference Toilet Twinning’ under Special Instructions. (Tearfund manages all the CAF finances for Toilet Twinning). Once you have made your donation please contact us by email at info@toilettwinning.org or telephone 0300 321 3217 to confirm the name and address of where you would like your Toilet Twin certificates sent.

    As soon as we receive your donation from CAF we will send your certificate out to you.

    PLEASE NOTE: You cannot use CAF vouchers/CAF card for ordering toilet rolls, soap or Gift Boxes.

    For Stewardship donations – Simply search for Tearfund via your Stewardship account with the Stewardship website and make the payment to them, with the reference “Toilet Twinning”. (Tearfund manages all the Stewardship finances for Toilet Twinning).

    Once you have made your donation please contact us by email at info@toilettwinning.org or telephone 0300 321 3217 to confirm the name and address of where you would like your Toilet Twin certificates sent.

    As soon as we receive your donation from Stewardship we will send your certificate out to you.

    PLEASE NOTE: You cannot use Stewardship vouchers/Stewardship account for ordering toilet rolls, soap or Gift Boxes.

  • Can I change my order?

    If you need to change any of your details, please can you make sure you contact us within 24 hours of placing your order, and we will be able to help: info@toilettwinning.org; 0300 321 3217.

  • Can I get a refund?

    If you have been charged twice, we will check our account and if there is more than one transaction in your name, we can refund the transaction(s) made in error. Please note: We are not generally able to refund donations, as it is against charity law. PayPal will only allow us to process refunds up to 60 days after the original transaction.

  • How much do you spend on administration?

    Tearfund (the charity that Toilet Twinning is part of) has very lean operating costs. Only 13% is spent on fundraising. The rest is spent either directly in the field or supporting field programmes.

  • Why spend money on photos rather than more toilets?

    The idea of Toilet Twinning is that you display a picture of a latrine, with its GPS coordinates, in your toilet at home – to show that it’s twinned. Some months, we find that around 20% of our donations come from people who say they’ve seen a certificate in someone else’s loo. So initially it may not seem beneficial to spend money on providing photos, but in the long run we have found that it generates a lot more support, and so we can invest in more water and sanitation projects long term.

LOO QUESTIONS

  • Does it cost £60? How much does it cost to build a loo in Africa?

    The cost of a latrine varies dramatically depending where in the world you’re building it. The two biggest factors are the type of latrine you’re building (check out ‘our approach’ in the What We Do section) and therefore the cost of materials, and the cost of getting the materials to where they need to go. This means a latrine can cost less than £60, or a lot more than £60, but overall, £60 is roughly the average cost across all our programmes.

  • Is the photo the actual toilet I’ve twinned with?

    The picture on the certificate is a family toilet built within the village location that is specified on your certificate, along with the GPS coordinates of the village. To keep administration costs to a minimum, we twin the same toilet up to ten times. It is extremely unlikely that you will see the same image in someone else’s loo, but it may happen, or you may see your twin in our advertising materials.

  • How many times is a photo used?

    We ask our local partners to send us photos of toilets built as a result of their programmes, so that we can use these photos on our Toilet Twinning certificates. We have supplied our partners with cameras, and they email photos every few months to us, as toilets are built. As we’re sure you can imagine, there are lots of logistics involved in our partners taking the photos, including their staff time, fuel costs to the field, etc. Because of these costs, and the diligence we exercise in minimising our administration overheads, we twin each toilet photo a maximum of ten times – so we get £600 in twinning donations for each photograph gathered by our partners. This means it’s possible that you would see your toilet twin in another toilet in the UK – but unlikely.

    We think it’s important that Toilet Twinning sends out physical certificates to everyone who twins – as these certificates are a really low-cost way of spreading the word about Toilet Twinning’s work; we currently receive around 20% of our donations each month from people who say that they’re doing it because they’ve seen a certificate in someone else’s loo. So the certificates are a great way of generating funds, as well as showing you just what a difference your donation makes.

  • How many toilets have been built so far?

    To get an indication of how many toilets have been built between 2011 and 2018, you can see the number of Toilets that have been Twinned in the “Transparency” page of the “What we do” section.

  • Why does each toilet look different?

    One of our main priorities is the empowerment of people living in poverty. As such, we want to make sure that a sanitation programme is owned by the communities that we work with – so they are able to maintain their latrines in the long term. They choose to build latrines with readily available materials and this means that the latrines do differ aesthetically from community to community.

  • Tell me about sustainability – do the toilets last forever?

    It generally takes us between three and six years to educate a community to the point where the residents will keep going with all that they have learnt and ensure their toilets are used, maintained, and replaced when necessary. In terms of the initial household latrine that is built by the family, the pit will last around 3-6 years – depending on the number of people in the household, and the depth of the pit. By six years, the pit is likely to be full. Because the family will have benefited from improved health and more productivity, it is likely that the family will be able to afford to build a new pit latrine to replace the one that is now full. Wherever possible, a latrine featured in a Toilet Twinning certificate has been built as a result of a programme of education and training, and subsidisation only when absolutely necessary. By working in this way, we ensure our programmes are sustainable, and can be replicated across communities – so that the ripple effect ensures that transformation continues to unfold, and more and more people are able to get out of poverty. So – our simple message is this: a toilet – or at least toilet education – is a gift that lasts a lifetime.

  • Latrine technology – do you build composting loos?

    The water and sanitation experts within our local partner organisations spend quite a bit of time with the community, talking through their sanitation issues and how to best address them. We do not support or promote a single, one-size-fits-all model across our sanitation programmes: the physical and socio-cultural contexts determine the type of latrine that is built. Concrete is more typically used in areas where the soil is very unstable and will cause the pit to collapse if it is not supported. Using concrete for the lining of a pit is not the most common (or preferred) way. However, it is the most practical approach particularly in school/institutional latrine blocks, where cubicles and their underlying pits are built closely together, and are routinely emptied, and so need to be robust. We certainly embrace the concept of composting latrines, and we use the ecological sanitation approach in various countries, such as Uganda and DRC. Composting advantages include producing valuable fertiliser and soil conditioner, and pits can be shallower as they’re used cyclically to allow for decomposition, which means less work in construction and less chance of contaminating a water table. A great challenge, however, is introducing the Ecosan / composting in the first place: to many people, the use of “humanure” is a definite “no”: using village champions and demonstrator households takes time.

  • Can I visit my twin?

    Toilet Twinning is a fundraising venture based in the UK, and those who benefit from a new latrine are not aware of Toilet Twinning’s existence. Tearfund works through a network of local partners who build relationship with poor communities and work to empower them to find solutions to their problems. Families therefore have a high degree of ownership concerning the toilet they have built. We highly value the relationship between local partners and communities, and we always aim to work in a way that is culturally sensitive. Therefore, in order for any of our supporters to visit a latrine they have twinned with, we would have to apply to the community leaders for permission to visit, which is a process that would take a few months. If granted permission, supporters would then need to be chaperoned in the village by a Toilet Twinning representative. We hope you understand that unfortunately it is not possible for us to arrange such trips at the moment.

  • How do you monitor projects to ensure money is spent on sanitation?

    Toilet Twinning is a fundraising arm of Tearfund, and as such, Tearfund’s international team ensures that funds sent to partners are being used for intended purposes. Country directors physically check that activities being reported on are consistent with the partner’s approved proposal. On a quarterly basis, Tearfund’s in-country projects officer or coordinator will undertake field visits. The monitoring visit is undertaken in pairs i.e. a projects officer/coordinator goes with the finance officer to assess the physical evidence of the reported activities against the recorded expenditures. The aspect of value-for-money for each activity / asset is assessed as part of this audit.

    Tearfund insists on field visits being conducted by both programme and finance staff so that they can talk to local people (beneficiaries), the local leaders, and other stakeholders in the implementation area, to ensure that the reports being sent in are not talking about other agencies’ project achievements/activities. If Tearfund’s country directors notice any management challenges, they arrange meetings with the Board of Directors of local partners – to raise any observed issues that require performance management.

  • How can I see my loo on the supporter map?

    We have a map of our supporters in the UK and worldwide so that you can see your own twinning activity (and that of others nearby!). If you’re not on the map, and want to be, please get in touch via email (info@toilettwinning.org) or call us on 0300 321 3217.

    We cannot show overseas latrines on a map due to our need to protect the privacy and security of the communities that we work with.

     

  • Where is the need greatest?

    On one level, every country featured in Toilet Twinning is an example of where the need is greatest globally – as we choose to work in 25 countries where poverty is extreme. We work with communities that are marginalised, and usually extremely remote, and where governments fail to provide adequate water and sanitation.

    There are three main aspects to Tearfund’s work:

    War-torn countries: We help fund very large operational programmes. We have established teams of expats (from either Europe or other, more stable countries in Africa) in:

    • Central African Republic (a country that is almost entirely plagued by conflict)
    • Democratic Republic of Congo (a country where it’s estimated that the president has amassed a personal fortune of $15billion in 15 years, and as a result, has not invested anything in infrastructure. Many communities are made up entirely of refugees who have returned to nothing after years of civil war. )
    • Tearfund is also working in South Sudan, Iraq and with the Myanmar refugees in Bangladesh – but it’s very hard to get Toilet Twinning photos from these countries because teams are beset by all kinds of problems and day to day life is incredibly hard. Taking photos for Toilet Twinning is one thing too many to consider.

    Countries hit by natural disaster: We don’t have any Toilet Twins currently as we haven’t had a major disaster for a long time – but historically we have had Toilet Twins as a result of work after the Haiti earthquake (2010) and the Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan – 2013).

    Long-term development programmes: This is the preferred way of working to deliver water and sanitation programmes – working through long-term partners to educate communities about the need to build toilets – and then for families to build the toilets themselves, using the info that the partner has given them. Some of Tearfund’s partners have been partners for more than 30 years – and so they have built up a lot of expertise and best practice methods.

Other promotional items

  • Loo rolls & soap

    We produce a gift range – perfect as alternative gifts which also spread awareness.

    The loo roll (£8) is boxed and features the photos and GPS coordinates of four latrines: one in Satkhirai, Bangladesh; the second in Pujehun district, Sierra Leone; the third in Mwenge, Kenya and the fourth in Shignan, Afghanistan. The soap (£6) is a boxed, 100g vanilla and almond square bar stamped with the Toilet Twinning logo.

    Please note that loo rolls and soap purchases are not eligible for gift aid, so CAF vouchers cannot be used.

    Please note that loo rolls and soap purchases cannot be made using CAF/Stewardship and are not eligible for Gift Aid.

  • How is the money from these sales used?

    We use all the money raised to fund Tearfund’s water and sanitation work in poor communities across the world – bringing clean water, decent sanitation and hygiene education about hand-washing and other health-related principles to tens of thousands of people.

  • Gift box

    The gift set (£80) consists of a twinned toilet (framed certificate), a boxed loo roll and a boxed soap: all in a beautiful presentation box. If you apply gift aid to your order, this will only be applied to the £60 twinning donation (gift aid rules indicate that the £20 donation for the soap, loo roll and presentation box is ineligible).

    You can use CAF or Stewardship for the Toilet Twinning element of a gift set order; the remaining £20 will require a different payment method.

  • Make a Stand kits

    If you’d like to get others excited about Toilet Twinning, we’d like to make it as easy as 1-2-3

    1. Ask us for a Make-A-Stand kit comprising of 5 or more framed certificates, posters, leaflets, a T-shirt, paper bags.
    2. In return for a donation of £60, you can let people choose their Toilet Twinning certificate from the selection we’ll send you
    3. Take payment via cash or cheque – and then arrange to make a BACS transfer to the Toilet Twinning bank account (minus the cost of posting back any left-over certificates and unused resources).

    You’ll find all the forms and details you need in the Make-A-Stand box.