World Toilet Organisation (WTO) started the world’s first World Toilet College (WTC) in 2005 to build capacity in toilet design and maintenance, cleanliness, and sanitation technologies in both urban and rural contexts. In late 2015, WTO teamed up with the Global Interfaith Wash Alliance (GIWA), and Reckitt Benckiser (RB), to launch World Toilet College (WTC) in India. Clean India Journal, in an exclusive interview with Jack Sim, the Founder of the World Toilet Organisation, discusses the WTC and its contribution to the Indian sanitation segment.
How has World toilet college been conceptualised?
If you build 110 million toilets, you need to maintain them, clean them, empty them, repair them, and you need public education, skills training and policy influence. In order to tackle poor sanitation, we need to ensure that professionals are trained in the required skills and knowledge, including the design of toilets, technology, building toilets, cleaning and maintenance, eco-sanitation, waste management, and setting up sanitation social enterprises.
The first class of WTC was held at its Rishikesh campus in India in March 2016, with nearly 50 students in attendance! The class focused on “Community Training of Sanitation Ambassadors”.
In August this year, we have launched WTC in Aurangabad. The courses offered by WTC aims to address both the urban and rural toilet needs in a holistic approach.
What are the challenges you foresee?
Behavioural Change, Sewer Diving, Women Public Toilets. Active Schools toilets are much needed because outsiders jump over the fence to use them and often, they are closed. We need rules and caretakers. Also, budget for school toilets maintenance is too low. We also need to look at improving tourist toilets to boost tourism
How does the partnership with Reckitt Benckiser work?
Partnership with RB is going very well. The company was the founding member of the WTC in India and supported WTC in Rishikesh and Aurangabad. It is playing crucial role in expanding the colleges as well. We have a plan to setup five more such colleges in the next five years.
The vision of the WTC Aurangabad is to eliminate the inhuman practice and improve status of Sanitation Workers by giving dignified living through Entrepreneurship promotion in sanitation value chain through capacity enhancement, market linkages and employment linked vocational training using ICT and in-person tools, ranging from technical training to soft skills to career counselling and partnership development.
What is the qualification, enrolment process and future employment opportunities for a student studying at WTC?
The sanitation workers enrolled at the centre are Standard VIII, IX or X pass out. The trained participants are employed in housekeeping sector in India.
Participants are evaluated on the basis of the criteria set for selection – He must be sanitation workers, earning low salary less than `5000 and ready to work in sanitation sector only.
We need to focus on common use toilets and public toilets. One step to motivate the government is to renovate all government offices and workplaces toilets. The current government offices toilets are divided into high officers’ toilet which are clean and low ranks toilets which are not so good.
A trainee speaks…
How did you get informed about WTC and what inspired you to join that?
I got the information about World Toilet College from Community Mobilizer. He said that there is a college opened to upskill sanitation workers and improve their livelihood and safety towards work. The College does this through a range of activities including comprehensive technical and soft-skills training, health check-ups, and other support needed by sanitation workers. All these services are provided completely free of cost to sanitation workers. After completion of course, we will get a certificate. The job we would get after this training will earn us respect in the society. Our work won’t have adverse effects on our health. We will be trained in modern techniques of drainage and sewage management.
We have to face many issues in our work. We work without using any safety equipment which leads to ill effects. Our work has no respect in the society.
Getting respect and dignity of work in the society was the biggest motivating factor to join WTC. Other motivating factor was receiving the personal protective equipment to protect our health against the occupational hazards
What did you learn here?
I get to know about there are organizations in India like Reckitt Benckiser, Jagran Pehel, WTO, KAMSHALA, IL&FS and BVG, who all are working for sanitation workers for making their life dignified. There are huge opportunities available which needed right training.
We will be professionally trained in housekeeping and other equipment and after our training we will receive certificates. The training and certificate will get us a job take us forward in life. The training module include
• World Toilet college foundation course
• Eco system from collection to treatment.
• Occupational Health Hazard and Manual Scavenging Act 2013
• Mechanical manhole cleaning with personal protective equipment
• Restroom service quality
• Daily cleaning of restrooms
• Periodic cleaning of restroom
• Specialized cleaning of restroom
• Minor repair in restroom
• Dress to impress
• Anger and stress management
• Healthy Habits
• Interview techniques
• Basic Etiquettes
What do you plan to do after the completion of the course?
Presently, I have been placed in a PVR in housekeeping department and I am planning to continue in this job so that I can grow in the organization which will improve my financial stability, social life and health. I want to give good education to my children and this job will help in giving them a dignified life.