PoopReport's charity drive for women's latrines in Uttar Pradesh

Dave sez,
I'm the editor of PoopReport.com. I've been living in India for the last six months. While here, I've come across a great cause related to the subject of my site: raising money to build toilets for lowest-caste girls studying at the Pardada Pardadi school in rural Uttar Pradesh.

Today these students are forced to suffer the dangers and humiliation of waking up before sunrise to relieve themselves in nearby fields. This is incredibly unsanitary and quite demeaning -- imagine if you had to wait until the sun was down before you could use the bathroom, no matter how bad you had to go?

But a toilet really can change their lives. It will directly impact the health and the dignity of these students, their families, and their villages as a whole.

A single dual-pit toilet based on the Sulabh model (which converts waste into fertilizer and needs to be serviced only once every five years) costs $250. Every little bit helps -- $1 is enough to cover lunch for four laborers building the toilets. But if you give a full $250, Pardada Pardadi will give you naming rights and send you picture of your toilet and of the girl and the family to whom you've given such a great gift.

I'm in for $250 -- I've dug pit latrines in a squatter village in Central America and it's pretty thankless labor, but I've seen first hand what a difference it makes. Link (Thanks, Dave!)


  1. I spent some time in a village without running water or latrines in rural Africa. The people relieved themselves in nearby fields there as well, but considered the practice to be normal rather than demeaning. Is there something about the lowest-caste girls in this region of India that makes things different there?

  2. why the strong emphasize on ‘girls’ .. don’t guys have to poo too?

    I know, the promise of a pic of the girl who is going to poo on your 250$ is more enticing than just some guy ..

    Overall, great effort.

  3. Let me guess: they aren’t allowed to use the higher-caste’s toilets?

    Having to hold it till night fall would sure cause a lot of accidents for me. That demeaning enough?

  4. I’ve heard that “humanure” (composted human shit) is a valuable commodity… so much in fact that in korea people compete with each other (in markets?) to build the most aesthetically pleasing outhouse (to try to attract end-users!)

    I’m not sure it is true, i’d love to find a link to it. mark dixon told me while we we’re shitting in buckets during this project.

    maybe this could offset the costs associated with these toilets?

  5. Caipirina:

    “” The sun rose late on that December morning, illuminating hundreds of men squatting in the fields next to the tracks, mile after mile, their asses towards the train, pooping on the same ground hundreds of men had pooped on every single day before.

    Men only. Modesty forces women to poop in the fields before sunrise, or to hold it until after the sun sets. “”

    Now, I know we could just say it’s up to the girls to define the limits of their own ‘modesty’, but it’s just not that simple. If it was easy to do as you please, there would be no caste system, no untouchables, no invisibles. But there is.

    ‘Modesty’ is the same reason women in some islamic societies have to cover their bodies and faces. We don’t just say, “throw off the burqa, there is no law in the Quran about it”, we accept that the society in question dictates these norms, and that there would be much trouble if ignored.

    However, I for one am happy to call for these women’s daylight poop rights! (and ending the Indian caste system, burning burqas, letting Saudi women drive.. )

  6. If it was not for the caste system the world would be Indian.

    I firmly believe this to be true.

    It has blighted india at every turn.

    The upshot is that the country is blighted by remedial dynastic governmet.

    As Thomas Payne said “The idea of hireditary kings is as absurd as hireditary MATHMETICIANS”

  7. @#7

    The actual quote concerned legislators – please pay attention:

    “Thirdly, because the idea of hereditary legislators is as inconsistent as that of hereditary judges, or hereditary juries; and as absurd as a hereditary mathematician, or a hereditary wise man; and as ridiculous as a hereditary poet laureate.”

    Hereditary monarchs is actually a good idea for the monarchy – who better to teach a prince(ss) about how to be a king/queen than their parents?

  8. From my own travels in that part of the world, I’ll take the field over the toilet. If you’re 6’2″ and blond, you do draw a bit of a crowd, but at least the shit deposits of the last fifty millennia are dried out when they’re outside. There are some nasty toilets in the subcontinent.

  9. Maybe I’m missing something…but we’re talking about girls who are attending a particular school, right? This implies that the school does not have toilets that the girls can use. (And the quoted article suggests that these toilets are going to specific girls and their families, although maybe that’s unintentionally misleading and the toilets really are for the school.)

    If so, would it make more sense to build toilets for the school first? (Toilets for individuals are all well and good, but you presumably get more bang for your buck by making them public, if that’s feasible. I am largely ignorant of the culture in this region, so I don’t know if this would be a non-starter for some reason.)

  10. #10 – I think the idea is that when they need to go (morning and night), they’re at home, not at school, so the toilets are being built at their homes. It also sounds like the toilets are shared with neighbors as well.

    But, the comments section is getting fast follow-up, and I could be wrong – why don’t you ask and report back?

  11. See also February 10, 2004 edition – http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0210/p06s01-wosc.html
    India’s new loos save lives

    Consider the Sulabh Institute’s Museum of Toilets. Tucked away in a working class neighborhood on New Delhi’s southwestern side, the Toilet Museum features exhibits donated by some 60 countries, and combines high ideals with low humor to get its point across.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/ la-fg-toilet6sep06,0,2934595,full.story?coll=la-tot-world
    From the Los Angeles Times By Bruce Wallace September 6, 2007 HASANPUR, INDIA [the story is archived somewhere. LAT search doesn’t work on it.]
    Using shame to change sanitary habits
    A self-appointed monitor in India uses a whistle and flashlight to encourage villagers to use latrines, not fields.

    The E-Loo has been developed in southern Africa (developed by Dr. Brian La Trobe) as a minimal-handling system. Unfortunately, Alaska and the feds have not been interested in testing the system for our rural communities (not costly, cumbersome, and water/fuel wasteful enough?)

    The Eloo is a non-discharge dry sanitation system used as an alternative toilet, dry toilet, vault toilet, outdoor toilet, innovative toilet, holding tank with evaporative exhaust and evaporative toilet. While not a composting toilet.

  12. I’ve been to India recently and $250 seems like a hell of a lot of money for anything, relatively speaking. Are you sure all of this money is gong directly to building an outhouse? Perhaps I’m completely wrong here, but in a country where people live off $2 per day, I wonder if somebody’s creaming a little something off the top.

  13. “pit latrines in a squatter village”

    is it wrong for me to laugh at this no-pun-intended?

  14. Thank you Mr. Cory Doctorov !
    I am very glad you posted this project!
    I saw at th ePoopreport that the money pot is growing very fast!
    They could use the fertilizer on the fileds after it has degraded!
    To spread the word with BoingBoing is a great help to the girls and families of that area ..
    Thank you again.

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