The day Mr. Toilet changed my life

Published by Sophia Story on

IFC Asia, which took place in Bangkok in June, was my first IFC, full stop. Now, I’m not what you’d consider your typical fundraiser. In fact, there were many moments I felt a bit of a fraud as I don’t work at a “charity”. But if I took one thing away from this conference, it was that this wasn’t about fundraising or the “third sector”. It was actually about social impact.
Following is from a blog I wrote as it was all happening:
I’ve just come out of the closing plenary, where I was fortunate enough to hear Jack Sim, aka Mr. Toilet, talk sh*t. Yep. He talked about sh*t for a good 45 minutes, and I can honestly say it was for me one of the best talks I have ever attended. His refreshing approach to what he refers to as quite frankly a sh*t subject has kept him feeling so fresh about sh*t – even though he’s been talking about it for 17 years.

Bouncing onto the stage to discuss the “taboo” subject of poop and how 2.5 billion people have unsafe sanitation, he beamed, “I’m so glad you like sh*t!”

Jack closed the congress with what he calls a “constipated issue”. It was jam packed with substance, puns, reality, inspirational guidance – everything that sums this conference up. But he touched upon a subject very topical for me right now – one I want to call out.

Jack identified that there was a growing trend in this sector, and that trend is “a masculine approach to social impact”. What he meant by that was there are no winners here in this sector. If there are winners, there must be losers, and we cannot sustain this movement of social impact long term if there are losers. People will only become disillusioned and not participate, thus making social impact harder and harder.

The only way we’ll be able to achieve and sustain great social impact is through a family approach. Simply translated: together. Your peers are not your competitors, and you certainly can’t save the world alone. We can achieve more together than we can alone. Something is more than the sum of its parts. We’re on this planet together. We’re in this together, so let’s work together.

Predictably, Mr Toilet was the most in-demand person in the room during the closing plenary at IFC Asia, but I wasn’t leaving without a picture!


PS. Jack is the founder of theWorld Toilet Organization. And he changed my life. If you haven’t come across him or his work before, I URGE you to research him or, better yet, catch him at #IFC2017! There’s still time to register.

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Sophia Story

Sophia is chief puff at 3 Sided Cube, a multi-award winning digital agency based in the UK, helping businesses and organisations around the globe save the world one app at a time. She's also a member of the 2018 IFC Advisory Panel.


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