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Faith In Action: World Toilet Day — Toilet Tax, Workshop 4: Conscience Refined

In "Gather the Spirit," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • Leader Resource 2, World Toilet Day
  • Poster board (enough to post signs outside each bathroom in the congregational building), color markers, scissors (including left-handed scissors), tape and glue sticks and masking tape
  • Money collection jars and (optional) sticky labels and permanent markers
  • Optional: Laptop with Internet access; computer printer

Preparation for Activity

  • Online, learn about WaterAid , an international organization that funds and implements local water and sanitation projects in developing nations. Familiarize yourself with WaterAid's mission, programs and case studies. You may wish to identify a specific project to receive the Toilet Tax proceeds. Print out material for participants to include on their Toilet Tax posters.
  • Talk with your religious educator, minister and/or congregational leaders such as social justice and building and grounds committee members about how the group can implement a Toilet Tax project in your congregation. Make a plan for announcing the Toilet Tax in worship services and/or the congregational newsletter and/or website.
  • Download, adapt and print out Leader Resource 2. Make as many copies as you will have posters, plus a few extra.
  • Optional: See the Find Out More section for an annotated guide to WaterAid's multiple websites and links to other organizations that work on international clean water and sanitation issues.
  • Optional: Bring a laptop with Internet access, and a printer, so the group can explore WaterAid's websites and choose their own materials for their posters.

Description of Activity

Engage the group to work for equitable distribution of clean water across the interconnected web of life by helping an organization that implements community water and sanitation projects in developing nations.

Tell the group about WaterAid. Explain some of the projects the organization does, and how the projects benefit communities. For example:

  • Tapping underground water source and installing a water pump in a rural village—brings clean, safe water for drinking, washing and cooking; saves women and children hours of time spent carrying water from a river or lake to their homes (so the children can return to school)
  • Providing pay latrines in overcrowded urban areas that lack running water—reduces unsanitary disposal of human waste; provides income for people who otherwise do not have jobs

Suggest the group act on what they have learned about the connection between sanitation (toilets) and clean water. Provide a brief explanation about World Toilet Day. Explain that raising money through a Toilet Tax in the congregation is a way to make the congregational community aware of the clean water and sanitation we may take for granted while supporting WaterAid to bring clean water to places in the world where people need it.

Distribute poster board, markers, scissors, tape and glue sticks and Leader Resource 2. You may wish to form small groups to work on each poster. Invite participants to cut and paste the text from the leader resource on their poster or to write the words decoratively. If you have printed out images or text from the WaterAid website, make these available; if you have a laptop and printer in the meeting space, invite participants to find additional materials to use. You might engage some participants to make Toilet Tax labels for the money collection jars. When posters are done, display one at the entrance to each bathroom in the congregational building along with a Toilet Tax collection jar, perhaps placed on a small table.

Announce to the congregation before the service begins that there will be the collection boxes next to the bathrooms. In your announcement, mention the need for clean sanitation around the world and the connection between clean water and clean sanitation.

Collect the money and send a donation to WaterAid or another organization that works for equal distribution of sanitation and clean water.

Including All Participants

Find appropriate tasks for all participants in a multi-age group. Young children can be part of an announcement to the congregation. People who prefer to work alone can label collection jars. Active people may like to find tables for the collection jars or walk through the building counting the bathrooms and, later, hanging the Toilet Tax posters.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

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