World Toilet Day | Pearson qualifications

UN World Toilet Day

Tue Oct 23 08:07:00 UTC 2018

Get set for UN World Toilet Day on 19 November 2018 with our guide.

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We often hear about the World Trade Organization but the other WTO, the World Toilet Organization was founded by Jack Sim in 2001 with a mission to improve "sanitation conditions for people globally through powerful advocacy, inventive technology, education and building marketplace opportunities locally."

One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to end open defecation and make sure everyone has access to a toilet by 2030.

This year, World Toilet Day is on a Monday and there will be various events around the world which aim to raise awareness of the WTO’s objective. This includes a Big Squat at St. Paul’s in London. It is also possible to order resources from the World Toilet Day website.

In 19th century Britain improvements in sanitation thanks to improved drainage and sewerage played an important part in improving the quality of life of the urban population. It was also important in reducing infant mortality rates.

When we consider ways of promoting growth and development in emerging countries the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals recognise the important role sanitation can play in ending poverty. Over 40% of the world’s population are without safe sanitation today and the WTO uses World Toilet Day as a way of focusing attention on this need.

The WTO rejects a donor-based approach to providing sanitation preferring instead a market-based approach with a business model based on franchising. The WTO has set up a social enterprise called Sanishop which has had a big impact in Cambodia and is starting to have an impact in India.

The idea has also inspired others such as the young Australian entrepreneurs who set up Who Gives a Crap in 2012, a crowdfunded business selling toilet paper and which donates half its profits to building toilets. The founders had an interesting way of raising the money.

Specification links


This issue is relevant for the economic development topic (GCE Economics B, Theme 3; GCE Economics A, Theme 4; IAL Economics, Unit 4)


There are a couple of interesting business models in this story which could get students thinking about business objectives (GCE Business, Theme 1; IAL Business, Unit 1; GCSE Business Theme 1).


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