Jack Sim

Ashoka Fellow
Singapore,
Fellow Since 2007
World toilet organization

Citation

This profile was prepared when Jack Sim was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Jack is weaving a worldwide collection of citizen organizations (COs), donors, advocacy groups and multilateral agencies into a proper field. This means building organizations, networks, relationships, a common identity and common strategies. It also means bringing in new forms of investment.
Jack has founded a pair of global initiatives, the World Toilet Organization (WTO) and the World Toilet College (WTC). He is also one of the founders of Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA). WTO —and it is no coincidence that this name resembles that of another illustrious global body—is a membership organization of citizen groups, academia, and government agencies around the world whose work proves that progress on sanitation is possible. With 130 member organizations in fifty-one countries, WTO essentially is a collection of effective COs working in sanitation. Jack wove them into a network, boosting their local or national credibility by adding the WTO “brand.” These are the people who, with the right resources, can provide the solutions and services needed to begin to meet the demand for toilets.
The role of the second organization, SuSanA, is to align organizations, budgets, governments, and other sources of influence to redefine the mission and the urgency of sanitation. Members include members of national governments, U.N. and multilateral agencies, with room for private sector partners to join as well. Through SuSanA, Jack wants to use the great expanse of sanitation know-how to create an efficient global sanitation marketplace.
In addition to convening those players around a common agenda, Jack and WTO have initiated a number of programs that raise the profile of sanitation, break some of the cultural taboos around dealing with human waste, and demonstrate scalable ways to build the field. These include the World Toilet Expo, held in a different city each year; the World Toilet Summit; World Toilet Day (November 19); the Happy Toilet rating system for public loos; the WTC; and National Restroom Associations in more than fifty countries. Moreover, although WTO’s mission is not to build toilets directly worldwide—a task far too large for one organization—it does take on a few individual projects as a way to demonstrate good practices and build alliances, e.g., building public toilets in Indonesia and Sri Lanka after the tsunami.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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