Asked Questions

Loo Question

How many people does my twin help?

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Every toilet twin celebrates a new toilet for a family living in a poorer country, and the average size of a household is six people, for every £60 donation represents help for one family, six people.
However, once a family has the knowledge about the link between sanitation and health, they will go on to tell other family members, or people in neighbouring villages, about the importance of building a toilet – so the multiplication effect of your donation will be far greater than help for a household. It will, over the years, represent transformation for many more people without a doubt.
Also, the impact over generations to come is immeasurable, as our sustainable programmes are aimed at behaviour change and cultural change that will last beyond our immediate lifetime as knowledge is passed down from generation to generation.

Where is the need greatest?

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On one level, every country featured in Toilet Twinning is an example of where the need is greatest globally – Tearfund work in 50 countries where poverty is extreme. We work with communities that are marginalised, and often remote, and where governments fail to provide adequate water and sanitation.
We work in conflict-affected areas and regions hit by natural disasters, as well as extremely poor communities with long-term development needs.

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

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Toilet Twinning is part 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, 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.

Can I visit my twin?

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Toilet Twinning is a fundraising venture based in the UK, and those who benefit from a new toilet are not aware of Toilet Twinning’s existence. Tearfund works through a network of local partners who build relationships with 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. We hope you understand that unfortunately it is not possible for us to arrange such trips.

Toilet technology – do you build composting loos?

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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 toilet that is built.

We certainly embrace the concept of composting toilets, 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.

Tell me about sustainability – do the toilets last for ever?

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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 toilet 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 toilet to replace the one that is now full.

Wherever possible, a toilet 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.

Why does each toilet look different?

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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 toilets in the long term. They choose to build toilets with readily available materials and this means that the toilets do differ aesthetically from community to community. Also, in many situations, environmental constraints such as collapsing soils or high water tables mean that toilets need to be adapted to local contexts, and therefore their structure and appearance will naturally vary.

How many times is a photo used?

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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, photos can be used several times depending on how quickly we are able to get updated pictures from our partners.

This means it’s possible that you would see your toilet twin in another toilet in the UK – but unlikely.

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

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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, photos can be used several times depending on how quickly we are able to get updated pictures from our partners. 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.

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

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The cost of a latrine varies dramatically depending where in the world you’re building it. The biggest factors are the type of latrine you’re building, 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.

Payment & Financial

Why spend money on photos rather than more toilets?

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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.

How much do you spend on administration?

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Tearfund (the charity that Toilet Twinning is part of) has very lean operating costs and are committed to making sure your donation has the biggest possible impact for those in greatest need. Of every £1 you give, 78p is spent on life-changing projects, 11p is spent on support and running costs and another 11p is spent on fundraising.

Can I get a refund?

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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.
Contact us for help: or 020 3906 3906

Can I change my order?

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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:, 020 3906 3906

What about CAF vouchers and Stewardship accounts?

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We are currently not able to accept donations to Toilet Twinning using CAF vouchers or Stewardship accounts.

What about Gift Aid?

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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.

How your money is used

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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.

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 you will receive a print at home certificate (this makes an ideal present for someone!). The certificate features a photo of your twinned toilet, and its coordinates, so you can find it on Google Maps.

Can you give me your bank details / invoice?

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We will happily issue you with an invoice, please contact us by email at 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 or phone 020 3906 3906

Can I make regular donations to Toilet Twinning?

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We don’t currently offer a regular payment option for Toilet Twinning, however if you would like to give regularly to Tearfund’s work follow this link to donate.

How to pay

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Online: The easiest way is here on the website where you can pay by debit or credit card. Just choose to twin today and follow the instructions.

Toilet Twin Certificates

Can I have a framed printed certificate?

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Yes! We are now back up and running with offering physical framed certificates – simply choose at checkout whether you’d like us to send your certificate and frame to you directly via Royal Mail, or whether you’d prefer to receive the digital version only. Framed certificates will be delivered within 5-10 working days, and if you choose this option we’ll email you a copy too.

Is my name on the certificate?

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You can personalise your certificate with your name and/or the name of the person whose toilet is being twinned. We reserve the right to amend your text.
The certificate also gives your latrine’s location and a set of longitude and latitude coordinates.

GPS coordinates – how to use

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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 partners 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 ‘’ 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 Myanmar, due to security concerns. No details are currently given for the location of our toilets in Afghanistan to ensure our local partners’ security.

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.

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