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|Focus||Improving toilet and sanitation conditions|
|Method||Advocacy, capacity building, training, building market infrastructure, knowledge management, networking|
The World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. It was founded in 2001with 15 members and has now grown to 151 member organizations in 53 countries. All these members work towards eliminating the toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation solutions worldwide. Furthermore, the WTO is also the organizer of the World Toilet Summit, the Urgent Run and initiated the United Nations World Toilet Day.
A toilet is a piece of hardware used for the collection or disposal of human urine and feces. In other words: "Toilets are sanitation facilities at the user interface that allow the safe and convenient urination and defecation". Toilets can be with or without flushing water. They can be set up for a sitting posture or for a squatting posture. Flush toilets are usually connected to a sewer system in urban areas and to septic tanks in less built-up areas. Dry toilets are connected to a pit, removable container, composting chamber, or other storage and treatment device. Toilets are commonly made of ceramic (porcelain), concrete, plastic, or wood.
Sanitation refers to public health conditions related to clean drinking water and adequate treatment and disposal of human excreta and sewage. Preventing human contact with feces is part of sanitation, as is hand washing with soap. Sanitation systems aim to protect human health by providing a clean environment that will stop the transmission of disease, especially through the fecal–oral route. For example, diarrhea, a main cause of malnutrition and stunted growth in children, can be reduced through sanitation. There are many other diseases which are easily transmitted in communities that have low levels of sanitation, such as ascariasis, cholera, hepatitis, polio, schistosomiasis, trachoma, to name just a few.
World Toilet Day (WTD) is an official United Nations international observance day on 19 November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Worldwide, 4.5 billion people live without "safely managed sanitation" and around 892 million people practise open defecation. Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to achieve sanitation for all and end open defecation. World Toilet Day exists to inform, engage and inspire people to take action toward achieving this goal.
WTO was founded by Jack Sim in Singapore on 19 November 2001. Since its inception, WTO has brought together governments, academia, civil society, multilateral agencies and the private sector to explore innovative and sustainable solutions to end the global sanitation crisis. WTO’s mission is to promote the global sanitation movement through collaborative action that inspires and drives demand for sanitation and provides innovative solutions to achieve sustainable sanitation for all.
Jack Sim is the founder of the Restroom Association of Singapore, the World Toilet Organization, the World Toilet Day initiative and Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) Hub. Formerly from the construction industry, he decided to devote the rest of his life to social work after attaining financial independence at the age of 40.
Sustainable sanitation is a sanitation system designed to meet certain criteria and to work well over the long-term. The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) includes five features in its definition of "sustainable sanitation." Systems need to be economically and socially acceptable, technically and institutionally appropriate and protect the environment and natural resources.
Key pillars of WTO’s work:
|Activities||Year||World Toilet Summits|
|Founded World Toilet Organization |
Established World Toilet Day 19 Nov
|2001||Singapore: 19 - 21 Nov|
|World Toilet Summit||2002||Seoul, South Korea: 21 Oct – 2 Nov|
|World Toilet Summit||2003||Taipei, Taiwan: 10–12 October|
|World Toilet Summit||2004||Beijing, China: 17 - 19 Nov|
|Launched World Toilet College||2005||Belfast, Northern Ireland: Sept 26 - 29|
|Accredited by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)||2006||Moscow, Russia: Sept 6 - 9|
|Co-founded Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA)||2007||New Delhi, India: 30 Oct – 3 Nov|
|Partnered with ICC, USA for setting Global Standards & Codes for toilets||2008||Macau, China: 2 - 4 Nov|
|Launched Sanishop in Cambodia – World’s 1st sanitation social enterprise||2009||Singapore: 2 - 4 Dec|
|World Toilet Summit||2010||Philadelphia, USA: 4 - 6 Dec|
|First local NGO to create and implement a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)||2011||Hainan Island, China: 22 - 24 Nov|
|Launched Sanishop India in partnership with eKutir |
Launched Sanishop Vietnam in partnership with Unilever
|2012||Durban, South Africa: 4 - 6 Dec|
|United Nations adopted 19 Nov as UN World Toilet Day |
Achieved special consultative status with the UN ECOSOC
|2013||Solo, Indonesia: 1 - 4 Oct|
|Launched the Urgent Run for UN World Toilet Day||2014|
|Launched Floating Toilet Community Project in partnership with Wetlands Work!||2015||New Delhi, India: 19 - 20 Jan|
|Launched World Toilet College in India with GIWA and Reckitt Benckiser |
Launched Rainbow School Toilet Initiative in Henan Province, China
Launched 50 Years of Sanitation Excellence Roadshow in Singapore
|2016||Kuching, Malaysia: 27 - 29 Oct|
Jack Sim is the founder of the World Toilet Organization, the BoP HUB and is a global advocate for sanitation. Formerly in the construction industry, he founded WTO in 2001 after attaining financial independence at age of 40 and deciding to devote the rest of his life to social work. For ‘creating good will and bringing the subject into the open’ and ‘mobilizing national support in providing on-the-ground expertise’ Jack Sim received the Schwab Foundation award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001. In 2007, Jack became one of the key members to convene the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance composed of key players for sanitation. He is an Ashoka Global Fellow, and was named one of the Heroes of the Environment for 2008 by Time Magazine.
The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is a loose network of organizations who are "working along the same lines towards achieving sustainable sanitation". It began its work in 2007, one year before the United Nation's International Year of Sanitation in 2008. The intention of creating SuSanA was to have a joint label for the planned activities for 2008 and to align the various organizations for further initiatives.
The World Toilet Summit & Expo (WTS) is a global platform that brings together sanitation stakeholders to share, learn and collaborate to address the global sanitation challenge. The annual summit is jointly organised by a host government or organization involving policy makers, toilet associations, non-profits and for-profit entities and private sector stakeholders in the sanitation sector. WTS aims to empower these key players to exchange knowledge, expertise and resources in scaling up impact and innovation in the sanitation marketplace.
WTO was founded on 19 November 2001 and the inaugural WTS was held on the same day. WTO recognized the need for an international day to draw global attention to the sanitation crisis – and so established World Toilet Day.NGOs, the private sector, civil society organisations and the international community joined in to mark the global day.
Each year, WTO commemorates WTD with the Urgent Run. The Urgent Run is a call for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis and aims to bring communities around the world together to raise awareness for the global sanitation challenge and engage people with sanitation issues in their local communities. For the past few years, in the lead-up to UN World Toilet Day, communities worldwide have come together to organize sanitation-themed Urgent Runs in varying formats and include fun runs, educational events, awareness walks, toilet cleaning programs, carnivals and even motorbike parades. They are organised by community groups, companies, universities, volunteers and NGOs to engage their local communities on their sanitation challenges.
Many school toilets in rural China face problems of having old, unhygienic dry system toilets, absent hand washing facilities, and are often designed where the excreta disposal site is located right behind the toilet building – uncovered and exposed to the environment. Often, these schools lack a cohesive management system to upkeep and maintain the facilities, resulting in the toilet falling into a state of disrepair and neglect. This coupled with students who do not practice good hygiene habits, like handwashing with soap, can result in long-lasting health and environmental consequences.
Hand washing, also known as hand hygiene, is the act of cleaning hands for the purpose of removing soil, dirt, and microorganisms. If water and soap is not available, hands can be cleaned with ash instead.
With the aim of inspiring positive, long-lasting behavioural change among Chinese students, WTO`s Rainbow School Toilet Initiative was launched in 2015. In 2016 4 rural schools, with an estimated 1,300 students (average 300 students per school) benefited from the new toilet buildings equipped with a recyclable wastewater treatment plant.
Until recently, no proper sanitation solution existed for the almost 100,000 people living in floating communities on Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake. To address sanitation issues in these floating communities, Wetlands Work! (WW) developed the HandyPod, a product that contains the raw sewage and treats it by harnessing various biological processes. This project aims to eliminate open defecation by providing sanitation systems to floating schools and teaching students to use toilets; improve sanitation and hygiene; reduce school absences due to diarrhea; increase school attendance especially for girls, as well as driving demand for household toilets.
WTO and WW raised funds for the project through various platforms and in 2016 a total 8 HandyPods have been installed befitting approximately 900 students and 650 indirect beneficiaries in their households. The project was developed with a holistic and sustainable approach of technology (Handypods) and behavioural change (hygiene awareness classes) to the communities.
The World Toilet College (WTC) started as a social enterprise in 2005 with the belief that there is a need for an independent world body to ensure best practices and standards in toilet design, cleanliness and sanitation technologies. While the lack of toilets is an endemic problem, poor management and hygienic maintenance are equally serious issues. A well-kept toilet will encourage proper usage and prevent deadly diseases.
The goal of WTC’s programmes is to ensure the dignity of sanitation workers and elevate the otherwise poor image (and consequent low pay) reserved for this employment category in many places around the world. WTC does this by training and providing toilet cleaners with professional skills in both cleaning and performance of small repairs, thereby boosting their self-confidence. This empowers them with the opportunity to master the profession while at the same time enhancing their productivity. Since 2005 WTC has trained more than 5,000 people across its various courses and conducted programmes and courses.
WTO created SaniShop, a social enterprise that improves sanitation conditions globally by empowering local entrepreneurs. The organization started its market-based approach in Cambodia in 2009 in collaboration with the University of North Carolina, Lien Aid and iDE in Kampung Speu. Since then SaniShop has built more than 12,000 household toilets and trained more than 526 sales entrepreneurs in 7 provinces.
The SaniShop model is a self-sustaining market ecosystem. WTO teaches community members to educate and spread messaging regarding the importance of good hygiene and sanitation, whilst training masons to build new toilets and to market them to their community. WTO believes in addressing the issue of inadequate sanitation and to end open defecation via a multi-pronged approach that inspires behavioural change both in the individual, and community.
WaterAid is an international non-profit organization that was set up in 1981 as a response to the UN International Drinking Water & Sanitation decade (1981–1990).
World Water Day is an annual UN observance day that highlights the importance of freshwater. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. World Water Day is celebrated around the world with a variety of events. These can be educational, theatrical, musical or lobbying in nature. The day can also include campaigns to raise money for water projects. The first World Water Day, designated by the United Nations, was commemorated in 1993. Each year many countries celebrate World Water Day.
WaterPartners International was an American nonprofit developmental aid organization tasked with the specific purpose of providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries. Founded in 1990, it has since provided safe drinking water and sanitation to more than 200 communities in eight countries – Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Guatemala, India, Kenya, and the Philippines. The organization's co-founder and current executive director Gary White is also a founding board member of the Global Water Challenge and Water Advocates.
Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is a campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap are both important.
The Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP), formerly the Water and Sanitation Program, is a trust fund administered by the World Bank geared at improving the accessibility and infrastructure of water and sanitation for underdeveloped countries. GWSP works in more than 25 countries through regional offices in Africa, East and South Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and an office in Washington, D.C.. Heath P. Tarbert is the Acting Executive Director for the United States. The GWSP is best known for its work providing technical assistance, building partnerships and capacity building. GWSP focuses on both regulatory and structural changes and also behavior change projects, such as a scaling up handwashing project and scaling up sanitation project. Another key aspect of GWSP's work is sharing knowledge and best practices through multiple channels. The GWSP has determined five main focus areas: Sustainability, inclusion, institutions, financing, and resilience.
WASH is an acronym that stands for "water, sanitation and hygiene". Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH is a key public health issue within international development and is the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 6.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The SDGs are part of Resolution 70/1 of the United Nations General Assembly: "Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". That has been shortened to "2030 Agenda". The goals are broad and interdependent, yet each has a separate list of targets to achieve. Achieving all 169 targets would signal accomplishing all 17 goals. The SDGs cover social and economic development issues including poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice.
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is a United Nations membership organization that advocates for improved sanitation and hygiene for the most vulnerable and marginalized people around the world. WSSCC facilitates multi-stakeholder collaboration around sanitation and contributes to the international community's broader goals of poverty eradication, health and environmental improvement, gender equality and long-term social and economic development.
Open defecation is the human practice of defecating outside rather than into a toilet. People may choose fields, bushes, forests, ditches, streets, canals or other open space for defecation. They do so because either they do not have a toilet readily accessible or due to traditional cultural practices. The practice is common where sanitation infrastructure and services are not available. Even if toilets are available, behavior change efforts may still be needed to promote the use of toilets. The term "open defecation free" (ODF) is used to describe communities that have shifted to using a toilet instead of open defecation. This can happen for example after community-led total sanitation programs have been implemented.
Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual awareness day on May 28 to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM). It was initiated by the German-based NGO WASH United in 2014 and aims to benefit women and girls worldwide. The 28th was selected to acknowledge that 28 days is the average length of the menstrual cycle.
The Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) is a multi-donor United Nations trust fund that aims to help large numbers of people in developing countries improve their sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices. GSF is an innovative way to finance sustainable development.
Container-based sanitation refers to a sanitation system where toilets collect human excreta in sealable, removable containers that are transported to treatment facilities. This type of sanitation involves a commercial service which provides toilets and delivers empty containers when picking up full ones. The service transports and safely disposes of or reuses collected excreta.
Sustainable Development Goal 6, one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN in 2015. It calls for clean water and sanitation for all people. The official wording is: "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all." The goal has eight targets to be achieved by at least 2030. Progress toward the targets will be measured by using eleven "indicators."