Here at World Toilet Organization we have a serious case of the runs… The Urgent Runs. The Urgent Run is World Toilet Organization’s annual event for UN World Toilet Day – a global run to call for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis.
In 2014, the first year for the global event, 22 Urgent Run events were organised in 13 countries!
There were fun run events in India, Mozambique, Indonesia, the Philippines , Italy, Germany, Senegal, Benin and Tanzania. In Mumbai an educational run event involved children and youth in fun, educational games and sanitation training sessions. Activities included running to find the nearest public toilet – no mean feat in the Dharavi slum where there is only one toilet for every 1,400 inhabitants.
In Kumba, Cameroon, the Cameroon Toilet Organisation organised a motorbike parade which involved more than 100 motor bike riders distributing handbills with information on toilet and sanitation issues. In Accra, Ghana, a public discussion was held in early November with about 250 community participants.
In Banjul, The Gambia, a sanitation sensitisation programme was held at the Bakau Upper Basic School. Teenage students and staff members discussed the importance of toilets in society, the effect of sanitation on girls, proper hand washing, the importance of having toilets and keeping toilets clean, with a focus on ‘sanitation for sustainability, human health, dignity and social Change’.
In Bangalore, India, a public open forum event was held and its activities included presentations, poems, short movies, and an open discussion forum. Topics covered were the poor conditions of existing public toilets and the social issue of public urination.
The flagship Urgent Run 5km fun run event held in Singapore by World Toilet Organization last year was attended by Guest-of-Honour Minister Lim Swee Say, Minister in Prime Minister’s Office, who gave a speech on the importance of sanitation and Singapore’s sanitation story. There was a ‘big squat’ before the run – to symbolise solidarity with the 1 billion people who face the indignity of defecating in the open.
The event also featured a giant inflatable toilet, toilet roll shaped medals for participants, toilet-themed games, musical performances, a lucky draw with great prizes including an iPhone 6 and an exhibition on Singapore’s ‘toilet journey’. Leading up to the event, WTO spoke to the media and engaged in talks and events at local schools, colleges and universities to encourage students to get involved in The Urgent Run.
The global events involved participation from groups and community members from government officials, to children, amateur running groups, religious leaders, sports and cultural and women’s associations.
Like last year, the Urgent Run 2015 will once again be a global run for UN World Toilet Day, with sanitation advocates around the world commemorating UN World Toilet Day with their own local celebrations. The Urgent Run Singapore organised by World Toilet Organization will be held on 7th November.
We’re calling on individuals, companies, NGOs, community groups and others to join us by creating an event of your own in your town or city, wherever you may be. Hold an Urgent Run event and engage your community with the global sanitation challenge. You could explore event ideas from last year – like a fun run, competitive run, relay event, or a community meeting – or come up with your own creative ideas for the open format event!
You can download our Organisers Pack for tips on how to organise your Urgent Run event for UN World Toilet Day.
Ok, gotta go, it’s urgent…