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World Toilet Day: How We Can Prevent 2 Million Deaths Through Sanitation

Words by Smiley Team


Over the past twenty years the World Toilet Organisation has called for increased awareness of the need for clean toilets, hygiene and annotation treatment. Now more than ever, Founder Jack Sim says the need for sanitation is more apparent than ever. 

“Covid19 killed 1.4 million people and the world is shutting down. But diarrhea kills 2 million people every year but no one even wants to talk about it. Why?” questions Sim. “Because the rich and the middle-class rarely die of diarrhea, and they ignored the Sanitation agenda.”

“On top of that, they put Sanitation under a much more glamorous agenda called Water. So it was like putting grandma next to Miss Universe. All the attention went to Water and so, the Sanitation literally went underwater: Drowned.”

“It was for these reasons, I decided to decouple Sanitation from the Water Agenda and give Sanitation its own center-stage.”

Sim believes that toilets are not just a matter of hygiene and health, but of safety, productivity, wealth, dignity and happiness.  “Imagine without a toilet, all these qualities of life are absent. That is why we must ensure everyone must have access to clean and safely managed sanitation every time, any time, and anywhere they need to use one”. 

Jack Sim first founded the World Toilet Organisation on 19th November the World Toilet Summit. On stage, delegates decided to decare the date to be World Toilet Day. 

Just thirteen years after launching, the World Toilet Organisation lobbied all countries' governments at the UN General Assembly to adopt their founding day as the official UN World Toilet Day, and they unanimously approved their resolution tabled by the Singapore government. Since then, governments all over the world are taking action, allocating budget, and priorities towards Sanitation and Hygiene for their people.

Now, their media reaches an audience of almost three billion people, something Sim attributes to his unconventional approach to awareness raising.

“I reckoned that any subject that was taboo is in fact newsworthy if I flipped it with humor. Therefore, I started dreaming up all kinds of crazy ideas like wrapping myself with toilet paper and carrying a plunger and seated on the WC like a throne.” 

“The National Geographic Channel made my story one of their documentaries, and after that more and more media reached me and I became Mr. Toilet as they called me.

The growth of the organisation was also as a result of the partnerships between organisations, donations and the fundraising efforts put in by a team of volunteers. 

“The World Toilet Organization does not have a fund-raising department and so we do everything on leverage and partnerships instead.” Sim says

Everyone can get involved and Support the World Toilet Organisation in whatever way they can whether through volunteering at events, on social media, writing, fundraising and handling business aspects. Whatever your skillset or experience, the World Toilet Organisation would love to have you’. 

“As long as you come with your heart, we will be able to find a good fit for your service.” 





This article aligns with the following UN SDGs