Amazing Contribution to Change the World: The Urgent Run

Written by: June Park

It might be quite embarrassing to say but since we are humans, we go to toilet everyday. (If you don’t, that might be problematic?) It’s natural physiological phenomenon, and it’s also natural to go to toilet which is a bathroom fixture consisting of a bowl, usually with a detachable,

hinged seat and lid, and a device for flushing with water. But have you ever imagined a life without a toilet? I know it sounds awkward, but ‘life without a toilet’ is unimaginable and sounds so inconvenient, doesn’t it?

And you might consider that toilet is clean without doubt. But according to World Toilet Organization (WTO), about a ⅓ of the world’s population, 2.4 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation.

From 8 am to 12 noon, several ISS students gave their time to run the Urgent Run on Saturday, 05 November 2016.

At East Coast Park, participants gathered to draw attention to the urgent call for action to end the sanitary crisis, and support clean and working toilets worldwide for the third of the world’s population who do not have accessibility to clean, safe toilets. Celebrating the World Toilet Day which was on 19th of November, the ‘Urgent Run 2016’ has been held at East Coast Park. The Urgent Run 2016 is a global mobilization event to draw attention to the urgent calls for action to end the sanitation crisis, held annually by the World Toilet Organization. WTO is a global non-profit organization that was founded on 19 November 2001 to bring together communities around the world for a run or walk for sanitation. And the aim of WTO was to make the world with more clean and safe toilet at and sanitation for everyone, everywhere, at all times.

There are people who might be wondering what’s the connection between a ‘toilet’ and the a healthy, safe world. Somebody might think it’s silly. However, there is a direct relationship between them.

Sanitation is a basic human right. (Quotes from the Urgent Run 2016 site). According to WHO, 2.4 million people live their life without any improved sanitation at all. One out of ten people has no option other than defecate in the open location because they don’t have any proper toilets that they can use. So it relates to prolonged exposure to unhygienic conditions weakens a child’s immune system, stunts growth, and can cause malnutrition and diarrhoea-related diseases.

Facts from the United Nations:

  • One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2015).

  • Diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WAS-Hwatch 2016).

  • Disease transmission at work mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).

  • Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012)

  • Diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WAS-Hwatch 2016).

  • Disease transmission at work mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).

  • Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012)

    Questions for Ms. Jeyaram

    1. Why do you think the Urgent Run is important?  Why did you be the coordinator of Urgent Run?

    Mr Ballinger was the initiator for the school and my son, Josh, decided to run last year with other Middle Schoolers. Both of my children participated this year and 59 students, parents and teachers signed up.

    I have read a lot in the news and on NGO websites over the last few years about the lack of proper sanitation worldwide, how it impacts people’s safety and how many children don’t attend school because of having no toilet facilities. It’s horrifying. Females and males are at risk of being sexually abused when they have to openly defecate. I am in a discussion with a Grade 10 student currently about schools in Indonesia that need toilets and how we can work with the WTO in Singapore in learning about the practical ways we can change the situation for one community there.

    1. Do you think the influence really can be spread for people? Do you think Urgent Run would really bring practical effect to people?

    I do. We have to try. The WTO has developed expertise in managing the problem by coming up with solutions for communities to build and then manage a toilet. We raise money, we raise awareness and we talk more openly about a very private, usually embarrassing issue. We have to ‘give a crap’.

    1. Are you going to promote this Urgent Run next year too?

    The Urgent Run will be promoted every year. Everybody has to play their part and persevere otherwise we are all responsible for the abuses that take place. I was so impressed with how many students signed up and came along. As a school we are working with a local organisation and are being innovative leaders as an international school in our participation. It shall become a tradition in our school.

http://urgentrun.com/city/singapore/

BIG SQUAT

https://sites.google.com/a/iss.edu.sg/iss-ms-community-service/action-as-service/thebigsquat-worldtoiletday-november19th

Urgent Run 2015

https://sites.google.com/a/iss.edu.sg/iss-ms-community-service/action-as-service/urgentrun2015-worldtoiletorganization

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