World Toilet Day is today! For those of you who care about sanitation it’s time to celebrate this campaign to increase awareness of the plight of loos around the world. Access to toilets is a huge issue in poor areas that has cascading effects on all levels of society, particularly women.
It’s great to see this campaign get so much attention and there’s stuff you can do to help out!
WTO which has over 200 partners worldwide, 42 of which are in India is one of the few organisations that focusses only on sanitation and toilets instead of water. “Everyone clubs water and sanitation, and 95% of the funds go towards water projects. But good sanitation is the first step towards clean water,” he says.
Toilets weren’t really top of the pot for Sim, who ran a number of businesses from the age of 25. “When I turned 40, I realised that I had 13,000 more days to live the average Singaporean lives to 80 and wanted to do something useful,” he says. Sim started reading and “realised that the toilet is really neglected”. So he started “the other WTO” in 2001 to disseminate serious facts with a sense of humour. The logo is a toilet seat shaped like a heart. “I thought the best way to break the toilet taboo was to use lots of puns.” But the name, which everyone thinks is “really bad at first” sticks in people’s minds. “That’s because every mother has told her child not to talk about the toilet. It’s not polite’. And here we are talking about the loo quite freely,” says Sim, who is often called Toilet Man.
And it’s not just about getting toilets installed. “You have to keep them clean too. So Sim has started the World Toilet College in Singapore that provides training in toilet maintenance and design. “I’m hoping we can open one in India too to train toilet cleaners like technicians.”
Read more: The big squat’ to take a stand on sanitation