Saturday, July 16, 2011

Basic Sanitation for All

Jack Sim is a visionary. He founded the non-profit World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001, “dedicated to improving the conditions of toilets and sanitation worldwide.” It aims to do something about the 2.6 billion people without access to proper sanitation (40% of global population!) and the 1.5 million children who die of diarrhea each year.

According to the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs 2011, the World Toilet Organization “envisages itself as a de facto global body that champions better toilet environments. It is one of the few organizations to focus on toilets instead of water issues, which often receive more attention on the international development agenda.

“WTO was created as a global network and service platform to address the world sanitation crisis. WTO currently has 235 member oganizations in 58 countries working towards eliminating the toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation. Its SaniShop franchise trains the poor to become entrepreneurs and sales agents, creating sustainable and scalable solutions to distribute proper sanitation.

“WTO is the organizer of the World Toilet Summits and World Toilet Expo and Forums. Each summit addresses critical issues of toilet and sanitation, including technologies, development, funding, maintenance, social entrepreneurship, capacity building and research.”

According to the WTO, its SaniShop concept is “a social franchise model where WTO provides a quality brand free of charge to entrepreneurial thinking people on the ground.
“The SaniShop model has two primary objectives: alleviate the poverty cycle by providing business opportunities and employment for locals. Whole communities benefit from increased household income; and drive down the cost of toilets to an affordable price – less than US$33, giving households access to proper sanitation which improves their health and quality of life.

“WTO engages suppliers to supply materials for our toilet units and we also source manufacturers to make the moulds and deliver free of charge to customers.

“We provide training to sales agents, suppliers and manufacturers to assist them to become franchisees. Our Cambodian team has programs in place to support, develop and enhance their professional skill sets and improve their business.

“We collaborate with product designers and sanitation technology experts around the world to ensure modern and efficient products and proper installation is available through SaniShop.”