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29 November 2020

Toilet Management Training

Since announcing this training a few days ago about 50 people have signed up, out of which some 20 of them are civil servants in officer's position, which means they are not cleaners. While it's encouraging to see non-cleaners showing interest in the training, we would like to focus the training only on the real cleaners who are employed as cleaners. It doesn't matter whether you are in the private or public sector as long as you are a cleaner. 

A little boy manning a public toilet in Jaigoan

The training will cover the following;

1. Building a positive social identity as cleaners and rise above the stigma.

It's a mind game. We want to tell stories to let the cleaners understand the purpose of their work and walk out of our training with pride and self-respect. Of the many stories, we will definitely share about the Janitor who helped Nasa put a Man on the Moon.

In 1962, During a visit to NASA, President John F. Kennedy noticed a janitor carrying a broom down the hallway. He walked over to the man and said, "Hi, I'm Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?"

"Well, Mr President," the janitor responded, "I'm helping put a man on the moon."

2. Understanding a Clean Toilet and knowing what it takes to achieve that.

Cleaners are generally illiterate and come from the poorer section of the society where they make do with basic or no facilities at all. Their idea of a clean toilet may not be clean enough. They need to see their goals with clarity in order to work toward that. 
Giving a short course to Memorial Chorten Toilet Manager 


The venue will be in a good hotel where we could do a practical session in their toilets, and where we could show good examples of toilets to the participants. The two days at the hotel they must see how consistently the toilets are kept well by the hotel staff. 

3. Using the right tools and gears for safety and Dignity 

Using the right tools and gears can not only ensure safety but also make the work really easy and stylish. If we are going to change people perspectives on cleaning job we must begin with this; a cleaner in a clean uniform with boots and gloves and holding the good mop will give an impression of a passionate work who knows his job well. It adds dignity to the job. 

4. Basic skilling in plumbing, carpentry, electrical and masonry will be given to skill-up the cleaners to enable them to carry out timely maintenance. If we observe carefully, all big damages start small and gradually. One nail on time can save a toilet from falling apart. But often in the absence of basic skills and accountability, even the most manageable damages are kept aside for the annual maintenance budget. 

5. Use of daily cleaning Checklist to ensure consistency 


By streamlining the job of the cleaners through a daily system of check and balance that will ensure consistency and sustainability. This is effectively used in every organization, including shopping malls in big cities, it's, therefore, high time we introduce it in Bhutan.
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Sharing a moment with SJ town toilet manager


If you know someone who needs this training please let them know, and if the person is unable to fill out the form kindly help them. But note that it's only for the cleaners. 



Talking about the overwhelming response we got from general civil servants, some of my friends said it could for the want of a certificate that may be useful while seeking similar jobs in counties like Australia. With no affiliation with any institute in Australia, our certificate, even if we issued one, may not carry any weight at the moment. But, it has opened our eyes to the possibility of a similar arrangement that could help earn revenue for Bhutan Toilet Org from the training course and guarantee employment in the cleaning sector down under. It's a good dream, isn't it?

26 November 2020

May We Check Your Toilet?

There has to be a strong correlation between the people in the management and the condition of the toilet in their offices. It sounds strange but the toilets do reflect the values and attitude of the people who are using it. There may be several other factors but good management will never allow its office toilets to stink, will they? 

During the Ambassador Conference, Dr Lam Dorji facilitated a session with the toilet ambassadors and they agreed to carry out a survey to quietly assess the office toilets and find out which type of management or leadership pay serious attention to the condition of the toilets. The results will be shared with the public through all media platforms.         

To get honest data from the assessment, we must not announce the dates. We should tiptoe into the survey without alerting anyone. But in case if some offices need us to seek approvals and permissions to carry out our survey, then I must do it right here with this post:

 "May we check your toilet?" I hope you won't say no.


Just to give you a heads up, the following questions will be included (but not limited to) in the survey;
  1. Are there separate toilets for women?
  2. Are the toilet walls and floor free of dirt, stains, cobwebs?
  3. Are the toilet pans, urinals and washbasins stainless? 
  4. Is there running water in the toilet?
  5. Is the toilet floor kept clean and dry? 
  6. Does the toile have good lighting?
  7. Is the toilet well ventinlated?
  8. Are the proper doors with latches? 
  9. Are there adequate cleaning tools?
  10. Is there a trained cleaner? 

25 November 2020

The Toilet Ambassadors of Bhutan

Who are these toilet ambassadors?

They are regular civil servants from each Dzongkhag and students from Royal University colleges who came forward to support Bhutan Toilet Org in taking our mission to the ground in their communities. They are volunteers. They are natural leaders who create a network of volunteers around them. They are the bridge between us and their Dzongkhag or College.



How are they chosen?

They came forward voluntarily. We didn't choose them. They chose us. We found most of them by chance. Only in some rare cases I personally asked my friends to help. The position of BTO ambassador is so undefined that it takes a huge supply of goodwill and trust to find or become one. 

However, when an ambassador goes on transfer or leaves for studies, we seek his/her recommendation to find a replacement.

How important are they?

We are a relatively new CSO but within a short span of time, we managed to overcome a lot and made a huge impact. The secret to our success is our ambassadors. They are on the ground. They multiply our efforts and reach. 

How much are they paid?

They are paid in millions worth of smiles and gratitude from people whose lives they touch. It would be an insult to put a price tag on their profound efforts. It's the purest form of volunteerism, one in which, the dirtiest work is done with the cleanest heart. 

What's Ambassador Conference? 

We have never met our ambassadors formally before. We coordinated on Facebook messenger and depended on various mode of communication to keep in touch. For the first time, we organised an Ambassador Conference to bring us all together, face to face and streamline our efforts. It may become an annual event considering the importance of such a platform.



Earlier, in the absence of any written guidelines, some ambassadors have done dozens of activities while others couldn't even define their role. This conference helped us share experiences and draw common grounds. We now have simple and clear terms of reference, action plan and communication strategy. We hope to make it better over the years.