April 14, 2015

Our vision to see a world where everyone has access to a toilet and proper sanitation; everywhere and at all times, has inspired GASI, an Educational Exchange Company, to create a truly unique experience for Singaporean secondary school students – taking them to Cambodia to see firsthand what a lack of sanitation looks like, and giving them a true taste of how one third of the world lives.

Working with World Toilet Organization, GASI has created an exciting and totally unique project inviting Singapore’s secondary school students to experience what life is like for people living under very different circumstances to them in rural Cambodia. We’ve had a lot of fun with our partner GASI trying to come up with a name for these unique school trips – some of the options suggested so far include “Learning about poo in Cambodia’’, “Bottom line adventures,” and “Lessons in life and loos”…

The trips will allow students to experience for themselves what life is like in Cambodia, and for the thousands of children and families there living without proper sanitation.

More than 1 in 3 people on this planet – or 2.5 billion people – still do not have access to adequate sanitation, with the vast majority of these people living in Asia and the Pacific. In Cambodia 85 percent of the population lives in rural areas, where 77 percent still don’t have access to proper sanitation. More than half of all Cambodians still practice open defecation, and in rural areas about two-thirds still go out in the open, contributing to death and diseases, as well as stunting and under-nutrition.

The 5 day trip with GASI will include several different life experiences, training modules and learning outcomes that will allow the students to see and experience life in a community which is very different from Singapore.

“The itinerary will enable the students to visit many interesting places for optimal learning. The students will spend 2 of the 5 days with the WTO team in the small province of Kampong Chhnang learning all about how sanitation is not as easy as flushing a toilet like in Singapore. We hope it will provide the children with a very real learning experience.” – Mei Ling, Gasi Education Exchange.

Taking inspiration from Singapore’s Community Involvement Programme, students will spend close to 2 days of their trip seeing the villages of Kampong Chhnang and experience at first-hand how World Toilet Organization through its social enterprise Sanishop makes sanitation into a viable sustainable business for the locals.

Sanishop masons constructing toilets as part of World Toilet Organization's Sanishop social enterprise

Sanishop masons constructing toilets as part of World Toilet Organization’s Sanishop social enterprise

In the hands-on trips, they will learn how toilets are manufactured using basic equipment, local manpower and resources. We hope to involve students in the business side, using their own initiatives to help Sanishop in their marketing and sanitation awareness roadshows to drive sales of toilets. Schools can also have the option of raising some funds ahead of their trips to subsidise the purchase of toilets by local Cambodians.

The students will prepare for the trip ahead of time by having several sanitation workshops to find out more about the global sanitation crisis, as well as discussing plans for fundraising. They will also have a chance to reflect on the trip and evaluate their experience.

Know a school that might be interested in this unique experience? Get in touch by emailing meiyee@worldtoilet.org

And stay tuned for more updates.

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