To raise awareness of global sanitation issues, this Japanese company is donating toilets to students in developing countries.

Launched in 2017, the Toilets for All initiative forms one part of Lixil’s pledge to provide better sanitation to 100 million people by 2020. For a six-month period each year, every Lixil shower-toilet sold in Japan results in the donation of a Sato toilet in a developing country.

Following the first donation in the Indian village of Wagholi, where 40 percent of households lack a toilet due to economic and environmental factors, Lixil is distributing almost 400,000 toilets, improving sanitation for an estimated two million people in Asia and Africa.

“The Sato toilet was actually developed by the same designer as our high-end toilets,” says Akane Odake, leader of Lixil’s global corporate responsibility group. “Designed using knowledge of water circulation, such as developing smooth flushing through fluid dynamics analysis, the toilet’s durability was tested over one million cycles, resulting in a high-quality product,” she says.

Designed with the needs of rural communities in mind, the units can be rinsed with just 200ml of water, while a self-sealing trapdoor keeps out insects and odours, improving hygiene. Iterations of the versatile design cater to different conditions and customs, while manufacturing is completed through social enterprises in each region. Lixil also works with UN agencies and international NGOs to deliver donations and raise awareness about hygiene and sanitation issues.


Access to clean sanitation remains a critical issue for almost one third of the world’s population. Striving to support communities in urgent need of assistance, the six-month-long Toilets for All initiative donated toilets to the Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh in 2017, while donations from 2018 will focus on schools across Asia and Africa, and will address issues of gender equality and education.