How do you engage government officials on toilets?

May 11, 2017

Access to water and sanitation are human rights!  But saying this is not enough to get a commitment from governments. We need to engage and persuade public officials who are likely to have limited funding and competing priorities. We need to understand their priorities and motivations if we are to influence governments at the local, state, and federal levels on sanitation issues like increasing public toilet access or preparing disaster sanitation plans.

Dr. Akram ul Islam

Akramul Islam of BRAC

To learn how to engage your representatives, please join the free global webinar “How to Influence and Engage Government in Sanitation” on May 17. Register here. At 7am PDT and 10am EDT, we’ll convene for 90 minutes in a 100-person video meeting room online to hear from the dynamic leaders of three organizations that have been successful in persuading decision makers about the key role of toilets in healthy society.

Akramul Islam is Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Tuberculosis and Malaria Control at BRAC in Dhaka. Akram holds a PhD in international community health from the University of Tokyo. He is lead author of Making Tuberculosis History: Community-based Solution for Millions.

Louisa Gosling of Water Aid

Louisa Gosling of Water Aid

Louisa Gosling is Quality Programmes Manager at WaterAid in London. Her fields of expertise include human rights, government decision making processes, social accountability, and menstrual hygiene management

Jack Sim is the Founder and CEO of the World Toilet Organization (WTO), which is headquartered in Singapore. In 2001, the Schwab Foundation named him Social Entrepreneur of the Year, and he was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2007. Jack was instrumental in UN General Assembly’s 2013 unanimous adoption of 19 November as the official United Nations World Toilet Day.


World Toilet Founder Jack Sim has long been a friend and inspiration to PHLUSH.

The May 17th webinar has been organized by Working Group 9 of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance in cooperation with Oxfam and the Stockholm Environment Institute under a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Abby reading press coverage with Jack Sim

Abby reading press coverage with Jack Sim

Working Group 9 focuses on Public Awareness, Advocacy and Civil Society Engagement. For the past six years the group has been co-led by Jack Sim and PHLUSH Program Manager and Co-Founder Carol McCreary.  The growth of Working Group 9 to more than 3000 members globally reflects the need for practitioners to break the taboo surrounding talking about pee and poop, develop well-targeted messages, and perfect skills in advocacy.  In addition to registering for the Webinar here, please post interesting questions for the panelists here.

For us at PHLUSH, Jack Sim has long been a key inspiration for us to figure out what needs to be done, speak out about it and mobilize action from public officials.  In June 2013, PHLUSH hosted Jack on a three-day visit to Portland. Current Board Vice President Abby Brown organized more than three dozen meetings, interviews and visits for the energetic WTO Founder. Later the same year, Abby represented PHLUSH at the World Toilet Summit in Durban, South Africa, where she live blogged Summit proceedings.

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Our Mission Through education and advocacy, PHLUSH helps local governments and citizen groups to provide equitable public restroom availability and to prepare for a pipe-breaking seismic event with appropriate ecological toilet systems.

Our Vision Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.

Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human (PHLUSH) was founded in Portland, Oregon and today collaborates with groups across North America.

PHLUSH is a member of the World Toilet Organization and a partner in the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance.

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