Tuesday, November 15, 2016

#MyWorkplaceToilet- Do you have access to clean toilet at work?


Lately we have been talking a lot about the horrific condition of our public toilets, now lets talk about toilets in our workplaces. Let me begin with mine; Bhutan Toilet Org office share one unit toilet with our neighbouring office. Five men and two ladies use it. It has running water, working flush, toilet paper, waste bin. What we don't have is stain on tiles, bad smell and wet floor. Oh yes, we don't have wash basin (-1 point). In short our toilet is like the ones you find in three star hotels. Thank you.


How do you manage to keep a three star hotel like toilet in a warehouse like office? Well, thanks to our landlord for building a good structure. They didn't build the toilet as an afterthought. And thanks to us for being the first tenant because good toilet needs good users from the beginning. Maintaining broken toilet is a difficult job. As for daily cleanliness we have the following toilet cleaning roster;

  1. Monday: Jigme Nidup Gyeltshen, Program Assistant
  2. Tuesday: Tshering Nidup, Program Officer
  3. Wednesday: Dorji Phuntsho, Finanace Officer 
  4. Thursday: Passang Tshering, Executive Director 
  5. Friday: Che Dorji, Communication Officer 
  6. Toilet Paper In-charge: Tshering Choden, Executive Secretary, Rotary Club of Thimphu
Actually it's that simple. Now, is it the same in other workplaces? Well, you see most offices have good toilet in the boss's chamber, and the boss doesn't even know where the employees' toilet is. He can only smell it, but his nose is mostly running. Employees blame the cleaner and the cleaner feels people are overreacting. This is the story of most government offices.

Think about the hundreds of construction workers and the mechanics in automobile workshops, do they have access to clean toilets? Even a sorry excuse of a toilet? I often wonder where the people working in hydropower project tunnels do their big business. Of course they are in the tunnel but that's their workplace too. 

First, employers are ignorant that access to clean toilet is a basic human right (perhaps even employees too are ignorant that it's their right to demand) and second, they don't realise that toilet in the workplace could increase productivity. The time wasted by employees in looking for a safe corner to defecate and the sick leave employees take due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation could be translated into meaningful work if there is easy access to clean toilet in the workplace. 

This year World Toilet Day theme is 'Toilets and Jobs' and in Bhutan we are observing the day by joining the cleaners at Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) to see how a day in their life feels like. Our little cousin Dr. Toilet is partnering with Bhutan Toilet Org to clean up all the toilets in the hospital on November 19, 2016. 49 medical students from RIHS are volunteering with us on the day. 

And for those of you who can't be with us physically, show us your support by sharing pictures of your workplace toilet (with hash tag #Myworkplacetoilet) on our event page. 

To understand how Toilets play a crucial role in creating a strong economy, as well as improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity, read more on World Toilet Day blog.

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