Did World Toilet Day sneak up on you quicker than a plate of greasy pork carnitas with a black coffee chaser this year? If you didn’t have a chance to observe the big day properly, don’t sweat it as Singaporean humanitarian/entrepreneur/commode overlord Jack Sim (AKA Mr. Toilet himself) has kicked off a new crowdfunding campaign that melds scatological humor and altruism in a manner that would make both Mr. Hankey and Sally Struthers proud. It’s called Brown Friday.
Brown Friday is the number 2 reason to spend this holiday season.
But before we get into that, let us introduce ourselves. We’re the World Toilet Organization and we believe that every school child should have access to clean, safe toilets; because nothing keeps kids away from school like having no place to poop and pee in peace. Our first project for 2014 is to put up one toilet building for a school in KwaMashu, South Africa that desperately needs it. For this, we’re going to need $30,000.
As with most crowdfunding campaigns, Brown Friday comes equipped with several levels of contribution level-based perks including a “Fifty Shades of Brown” notebook and the chance to have your name displayed of the Toilet Roll of Honor — a toilet block mural at the project site in South Africa. (“Once the mural is complete, you can tour the toilet block and find your name on Google Street View,” explains the Brown Friday campaign page). Big BM spenders will receive wearable items that are probably best left at home during your next PTA meeting or church potluck. Golden Throne level givers will have the chance to cut the brown ribbon for the completed toilet building in KwaMashu.
Although the KwaMashu school project is certainly the only World Toilet Organization endeavor that’s seeking funds through what Sims describes to Co.Exist as a “hijacking” of Black Friday, the nonprofit previously successfully launched the micro-entrepreneur-driven SaniShop initiative (essentially, a door-to-door affordable toilet sale scheme) in rural regions of Cambodia and India.
The WTO believes its new focus on South African schools can lead to a hugely positive change.
We believe everyone, everywhere should have access to clean and safe toilets. There are 24, 000 public schools in South Africa, and only less than 8, 000 have flush toilets. On a field trip in June 2013, we observed the various challenges faced by schools in South Africa due to the lack of adequate sanitation facilities. As these schools receive limited funding from the government, there is insufficient money to maintain or refurbish school toilets. Each public school has an average of 800 students — yet there are only 3 cubicles in each school toilet building. With no money to pay for maintenance, these toilets are left in dire conditions: dirty, smelly, unsafe and blocked. The lack of appropriate facilities result in high absenteeism rates in schools, especially among girls and adversely affects children's education and health.
More mandatory toilet reading on MNN:
- A solid explainer of what happens to our poop, post-flush [Video]
- Recycled toilet paper entrepreneur stages squat-in