“I was challenged to go outside my comfort zone”

Wondering what it’s like to intern at World Toilet Organization? Look no further, we’ve got the inside scoop: Hear first-hand from one of our summer interns, Karen Tan, who shares her experience of volunteering for WTO, from designing schools packs, to packing her bags for a site visit to Cambodia. Could you spare some time to be a WTO intern or volunteer? A fantastic opportunity to make a real difference.

How did you come to intern at WTO?

I have always wanted to work in the nonprofit sector and was looking to gain work experience in this field over my summer break. Luckily I found out about the internship opportunities offered by World Toilet Organization online and ended up spending a wonderful 3.5 months as the WASH Project Intern.

What was your motivation to work there?

I chose WTO because sanitation was a need I had never really thought about, and I was interested to learn more about the issue and what was being done to tackle it. WTO is also the only international non-profit founded in Singapore, so the prospect of getting to work at the headquarters of a global organisation was definitely a unique experience that I was excited to have.

Describe the organization in 3 words?

Enterprising, driven, inspiring

Tell us about some of the projects you worked on?

I worked on various projects under SaniShop Cambodia, in particular the joint project with Wetlands Work! to promote sanitation in floating communities. I was also involved in report writing for SaniShop Mozambique and developing some communications and advocacy materials for WTO.

What was the highlight of your 3 months?

The highlight of my internship was definitely getting to participate in the site visit to Cambodia to conduct pre-feasibility studies for the Wetlands Work! project and explore various opportunities for SaniShop Cambodia. It was an amazing experience getting to connect with the very communities that I had been learning about the past few months, and having to plan and execute the trip was an invaluable learning experience that I doubt I would have gotten elsewhere. I got to witness firsthand the severity of the sanitation issue in Cambodia as well as all the great work WTO has done, which was incredibly motivating and inspiring.

What did you learn from your time at WTO?

I learnt a lot about sanitation, one of the most basic yet rarely discussed human rights. I was challenged to go outside my comfort zone and do things I had never done before. I also learnt what it is like to work with people who share a passion for the same cause and who are all equally motivated to make a difference in the lives of others.

Any advice for future interns?
Be open to everything! One of the things I loved most was that I got to dabble in other areas like advocacy besides working on WASH projects, which exposed me to all these other aspects of WTO’s work and made for an even greater learning experience. You will be asked to do things that you have never done before, but take it all in your stride and you will walk away from this internship feeling immensely fulfilled and just a little bit wiser.


Could you spare some time to be a WTO intern or volunteer? It’s a fantastic opportunity to make a real difference. If you’re interested in getting into the stink of things check out our careers page!



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