By collaborating with celebrities, politicians and like-minded organizations, Jack Sim was able to turn the spotlight on the need to bridge the gap in access to proper sanitation in developing countries.
When the Millennium Development Goals were set in 2000, two-fifths of the global population, or 2.4 billion people, lacked access to basic sanitation. As part of MDG 7 on ensuring environmental sustainability, the international development community committed to halve this proportion by 2015. But while 64 percent of the global population now has access to improved sanitation, up to 2.5 billion people still don’t.
Sim, a Singapore-based serial entrepreneur, realized that the unspoken taboo on talking about toilets and the need for proper and hygienic sanitation facilities has contributed not just to the neglect of public restrooms in the city-state — at that time — but also to insufficient access to basic sanitation facilities in developing countries.
To break this taboo, Sim established the World Toilet Organization on Nov. 19, 2001.