Jack Sim (simplified Chinese: 沈锐华; traditional Chinese: 沈銳華; pinyin: Shěn Ruìhuá) is the founder of the Restroom Association of Singapore and World Toilet Organization. Formerly in the construction industry, he left to found the Toilet Organization in 2001. For "creating good will and bringing the subject into the open" and "mobilizing national support in providing on-the-ground expertise" he received the Schwab Foundation award for Social Entrepreneur of the Year, also in 2001. He was elected a Fellow of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in 2007, and as of Fall 2007 he was assisting in the United Nations plans for the International Year of Sanitation in 2008.
Jack broke the global taboo of toilet and sanitation by bringing it to global media centre-stage with his unique mix of humour and serious facts since 2001.
After attaining financial independence at age of 40 as a businessman, he decided to devote the rest of his life to social work.
Early works and achievements
He established the Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS) in 1998, which addresses the state of dirty public toilets in designs, building codes and poorly trained cleaners. Realising the need for a global body on the subject, Jack created the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001 as a global network and service platform for toilet associations, academia, government, UN agencies and toilet stakeholders to learn from one another and leverage media and corporate support that in turn influenced governments to promote sound sanitation and public health policies. Since its inception, WTO organized ten World Toilet Summits and two World Toilet Expo and Forum straddling Singapore, Seoul, Taipei, Beijing, Belfast, Moscow, New Delhi, Macau, Shanghai and Bangkok. In 2010, World Toilet Summit goes to Philadelphia.
World Toilet Organization
Today, WTO is a growing network of 235 organizations in 58 countries.
World Toilet Organization declared its founding day 19 November in 2001, as World Toilet day and this is now celebrated worldwide each year towards improving the state of toilets and sanitation globally.
In 2005, Jack founded the World Toilet College to provide high quality training in Toilet Design, Maintenance, Cleanliness and Ecological Sanitation Technologies. The college is a joint venture with the Singapore Polytechnic.
The same year 2005, he successfully lobbied for potty parity and changed the Singapore’s building codes to have more cubicles in ladies restrooms so they never have to queue up for the restrooms. US Congress passed a similar law in 2010.
In 2007, Jack became one of the key members to convene the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance composed of key players for sanitation. Members include UN-Habitat, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, World Sanitation Financing Facility and several other international groups working together to improve sanitation for all. He heads its Asian Secretariat in Singapore.
The same year, he also became the first Singaporean elected to be an Ashoka Global Fellow.
Asian Development bank names him an ADB Water Champion.
In 2008, Jack was appointed a Council Member to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Water Security and the GAC for Social Entrepreneurship.
WTO has a commitment with President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiatives to promote market-based sanitation in 2008 and another in 2011 to launch the BOP HUB, a global business platform for the poverty marketplace.
He has now developed a SaniShop franchise model to teach the poor how to produce and how to sell small affordable sanitation systems below U$40 per family with the support of Index Award, Rockefeller, Unilever and Singapore Economic Development Board.
In 2010, he joins the board of World Entrepreneurship Forum (under patronage of past French President Nicolas Sarkozy) and heads its Base of Pyramid Entrepreneurship (BOP) drive to bring trade to poverty sector as a sustainable way out of poverty.
Jack Sim has been a guest lecturer at Yale University, Illinois University, NUS, NTU, SMU, LKYSPP and currently teaching at the Tote Board-LKYSPP Executive Course on Social Branding.
His new ventures also include BOP HUB in Singapore as a global trade centre for the 4 billion poverty marketplaces.
In his free time, he designs and builds public arts sculptures and mobilizes volunteers to build an 10 acres Kampung Temasek, an eco-village in Malaysia.
On 23 Jan 2012, his film “Meet Mr Toilet” premiered at Sundance Film Festival.
Jack has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Msc International Marketing at Strahclyde University (Distant Learning) and is currently a student at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (part-time). He is also Social-Entrepreneur-in-Residence at National University of Singapore and INSEAD.
- 2001: Social Entrepreneur of the Year awarded by Schwab Foundation of Switzerland
- 2004: Green Plan Award 2012 awarded by Singapore's National Environment Agency
- 2006: Social Entrepreneur of the Year awarded by Schwab Foundation of Switzerland
- 2008: Hero of the Environment awarded by Time magazine
- 2009: CNA Asian of The Year
- 2011: Asian of the Year awarded by Reader's Digest magazine
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