For more than 50 years, Sitio Duco, Philippines, had few toilets to offer its 49 families. In fact, in 2009, surveys showed that there was merely three toilets in the community–two privately owned and one open to the public. Made of plastic and used truck wheels, the public toilet was in no way appealing.

And for lack of adequate facilities, residents of Sitio Duco would openly defecate in their backyards or in nearby fields. As a result, the village became known to surrounding communities as the “village that stinks.”

Jun, the chairman of Sitio Duco, was worried. Not only did his community smell, but the people were not well. Diseases such as typhoid fever, diarrhea and nausea ran rampant.

When a local facilitator from Outreach International came to organize the group, things turned around quickly for the community. Residents united to identify 12 sanitation-related issues that needed to be addressed. To no surprise, the lack of toilets in the community was at the top of the list.

In a year’s time, with a collaborative effort as a community, Jun and the residents of Sitio Duco accessed more than $900 on their own–enough to build nine more toilets in their village.

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“We have constructed five toilets with concrete septic tanks, and are about to construct another four. Next time you’re there, you won’t need a place to hide–you’ll have a place to go,” said Jun, addressing outsiders from the village.

Thanks to generous donations from Outreach supporters, families in Sitio Duco have prevented illness due to lack of sanitation.