20 Nov 2023
Resilient Communities
Accelerating change to create a world where everyone has access to a toilet

A blog from Ipsita Wright - Executive Director, Reece Foundation


This past Sunday, we celebrated World Toilet Day. Nowadays, it can seem like there is a ‘special day’ for everything, but this one is an important one that is often overlooked. We often take for granted the things we expect to be there. A toilet that flushes, a shower that has warm water, or a tap with safe drinking water – things we would describe as “basic plumbing”. In reality, most of the world lives without access to basic plumbing. There are 3.5 billion people living without safe toilets and 419 million people still practice open defecation. At present, these numbers tell us that the world is far off achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6: safe toilets and water for all by 2030. 

This year, the theme for World Toilet Day is ‘Accelerating Change’, with the humble hummingbird being used as a symbol to inspire each of us as individuals to make small changes to help the world meet SDG 6.  When describing why they selected the hummingbird to be this year’s symbol, the United Nations (UN) says, “In the ancient story, a hummingbird does what she can to fight a great fire – carrying droplets of water in her beak. Her actions – even though small – are helping solve a big problem”. 

At the Reece Foundation, we’re lucky to work with hummingbirds every day. Our community of volunteer tradies have each contributed in their own unique way to address the global sanitation crisis through projects at home and overseas. 

The work of our volunteers to do things like install a toilet might seem like a small action but statistics tell us it has a big impact. Beyond providing basic sanitation, access to basic plumbing can empower communities, particularly girls, by ensuring access to proper facilities. Since its launch, the Reece Foundation has funded the construction of  40 toilets to help girls stay in school longer in communities overseas. Closer to home, we’ve worked with Resilient Lismore and volunteers to restore essential plumbing to over 70 flood-affected homes in Lismore. 

Through our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) projects, the Reece Foundation is working to empower tradies to use their skills to create a ripple effect, improving individual outcomes and community wellbeing. 

Not sure what you can do to help accelerate change? Here are a few thought starters: 

The collective power of small acts shouldn’t be underestimated and together, we can make a big difference, just like the hummingbird fighting the fire—one droplet at a time.

rf team