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Bill Gates foundation awards $42M sanitation grant

Bill Gates foundation awards $42M sanitation grant

Bill Gates foundation awards $42M sanitation grant

By Mustapha Sesay

As a way of alleviating the sanitation problem in developing countries, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced $42 million in new sanitation grants that aim to spur innovations in the capture and storage of waste, as well as its processing into reusable energy, fertilizer, and fresh water. This revelation was made during the recent 2011 AfricaSan Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President of the foundation’s Global Development Program. He called on donors, governments, the private sector, and NGOs to address the urgent challenge, which affects nearly 40 percent of the world’s population The grants announced will include $3 million towards university challenges to develop toilet that costs less than five cents a day without piped-in water, sewer connection or outside electricity. With these new grants, the foundation’s commitment to Water, Sanitation & Hygiene efforts total more than $265 million. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will launch a strategy called ‘Reinventing the Toilet’ to help bring safe, clean sanitation services to millions of poor people in the developing world. Through this approach the Foundation and its Partners are working to develop new tools and technologies that address every aspect of sanitation—from the development of waterless, hygienic toilets that do not rely on sewer connections to pit emptying to waste processing and recycling.

Many of the solutions being developed by the Foundation involve cutting-edge technology that could turn human waste into fuel to power local communities, fertilizer to improve crops, or even safe drinking water. “No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improve health than the sanitation revolution triggered by invention of the toilet,” Burwell said in her speech at AfricaSan, the third African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene, organized by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW).

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