Tag Archives: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

WSA signs up with Malaysian firm for technical support on sanitation

Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Malaysian firm Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd for technical know-how and consultancy services in sewerage management in African countries.

WSA selected Indah Water “to be in a technical committee formed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to propose immediate, medium- and long-term solutions for sanitation services in WSA member countries”. In 2011-2012 WSA received three Gates Foundation grants totalling US$ 7.2 million, one of which to develop sanitation financing models for urban poor and another to set an African Sanitation Think Tank.

Chief Executive Officer Datuk Abdul Kadir Mohd Din said that the Gates Foundation “had sent a team of wastewater experts from the United States to visit Indah Water after visiting the African continent and Asean countries”.

Indah Water is Malaysia’s national sewerage company. In 1994, the Federal Government awarded the company the concession for nationwide sewerage services which before were the responsibility of local authorities.

Water and Sanitation for Africa (WSA) is a Pan African Inter-governmental Agency based in Burkina Faso, previously known as the African Regional Centre for Water and Sanitation (CREPA). WSA has a presence in 32 African countries.

Source: Bernama, 16 May 2013

Global Review of Sanitation System Trends and Interactions with Menstrual Management Practices

Global Review of Sanitation System Trends and Interactions with Menstrual Management Practices, 2012.

Kjellén, M., C. Pensulo, P. Nordqvist and M. Fogde. Stockholm Environment Institute.

This review of sanitation system trends and interactions with menstrual management practices has been conducted as part of the broader project on Menstrual Management and Sanitation Systems. sei

It starts with a review of trends in the development of urban sanitation systems and then explores the interaction between menstrual management and sanitation systems, mainly relating to the issue of disposal of used menstrual blood absorption materials. Finally, it proposes a framework of interactions by positioning a range of issues of particular relevance for menstrual management into the different parts of the sanitation system.

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Africa: AMCOW gets US$ 2 million Gates grant to build national sanitation capacities

The African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) has been awarded a US$ 2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help countries build capacities for sanitation policy development, monitoring and advocacy.

AMCOW will use the 3-year grant for:

  • technical guidance and training to four fragile counties to develop and adopt national sanitation and hygiene policies and plans
  • organising the 4th AfricaSan conference and awards to boost implementation of the AfricaSan Action Plan and eThekwini ministerial commitments
  • country support in using the African mechanism for water and sanitation monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

“Across the globe, about 2.6 billion do not have access to safe sanitation. Africa accounts for almost 40 percent of these figures.” said Bai Mass Taal, AMCOW Executive Secretary.

AMCOW is an initiative of African Ministers responsible for water and a Specialized Technical Committee on water and sanitation for the African Union.

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched its Reinvent the Toilet initiative at AfricaSan 3 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Source: AMCOW, 18 Dec 2012

IFC Announces Partnership to Increase Access to Affordable Sanitation in East Africa

Nairobi, Kenya, December 18, 2012IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to catalyze the market for improved sanitation and accelerate access to more affordable sanitation solutions for low-income households in East Africa.

The Selling Sanitation initiative, a joint project of IFC and the World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, will support regional manufacturing firms to deliver low-cost sanitation products to consumer markets, with a pilot program in Kenya.

This initiative will lower market barriers, attract private investment and spur innovation by helping firms better understand consumer needs at the base of the pyramid. It will provide support to manufacturing firms to design new products, strengthen rural distribution mechanisms, and actively promote sanitation to consumers currently without access. The initiative will work closely with regional government counterparts, including the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, to create the right enabling conditions for the sanitation market.

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Publication of the Study on Fecal Sludge Management in Africa and Asia

The study presented in October through the blog post: “Fecal Sludge Management: A smelly but fruitful business”, is now available.

The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is entitled “Business analysis of fecal sludge management: emptying and transportation services in Africa and Asia”. The purpose of the study is to analyse the fecal sludge management (FSM) sector and its operating models in 30 cities across 10 countries. 2.1 billion people in urban centres use non-piped sanitation facilities and unavoidably require the emptying of fecal sludge (see picture below). Mismanagement of FSM represents a serious threat to public health and the environment.

The study also aims at filling the important information gaps on this business sector, which is often unregulated and leads to situations where households pay excessive fees for these services or are compelled to undertake emptying manually exposing themselves to serious health hazards.

Chowdhry, S. and Kone, D., 2012. Business analysis of fecal sludge management : emptying and transportation services in Africa and Asia. Seattle, WA, USA: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 116 p.; 47 fig.; 22 tab. With bibliography  p. 115-116
Available at: <http://www.washdoc.info/docsearch/title/179741>

By Pascal B. Garde, Consultant, WASH Policy and Governance, @GardePascal

SEI and SuSanA to lead new sanitation learning & sharing platform for Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has chosen the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) to lead a new sanitation learning and sharing platform.

The Gates Foundation’s Sanitation Science and Technology Programme has over 80 projects. SEI and SuSanA have been tasked to share the results from these projects in an open public forum engaging a broad range of experts and the general public.

Over the next 15 months SEI will work with the Programme Grantees of the Foundation in order to broaden understanding and discussion about their work. The grantees will be encouraged to work through the SuSanA that has about 200 institutional members and some 2000 discussants on its Discussion Forum (www.forum.susana.org).

In August 2012, the Foundation gave a grant to the Water and Sanitation for   Africa (WSA) to set up the Africa Sanitation Think Tank (ASTT).

Related web sites:

Source: SEI, 09 Nov 2012

Fecal Sludge Management: A smelly but fruitful business!

Today, 2.1 billion people in urban areas use non-sewered (or on-site) sanitation facilities. While much of the work in rural areas is focused on creating and sustaining open defecation free communities and generating demand for communities to construct toilets, the downstream activities of collecting and transporting fecal sludge present a unique challenge for urban residents. These services are mostly provided by private operators, and are generally uncontrolled and unregulated. The inadequate disposal of fecal sludge in the environment represents a direct threat to public health and negates the positive outcomes from behavioral change and improvements in sanitation access.

The urban population in developing countries, and in particular the poor, rely on fecal sludge collection and transportation services that are often not affordable.  In addition, pit emptying is often done by hand, exposing the operators to serious health risks (see figure below). Often mechanical emptiers, using vacuum trucks, charge excessive fees to customers but do not pay taxes or comply with laws and standards due to a general lack of regulation for these services. This makes it a highly profitable business. For example an emptying service provider in Abuja makes US$ 15,000 per month.

Manual emptier in Senegal, also called Baay Pelles

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Hi-tech toilets save lives – and mean big business

Hi-tech toilets save lives – and mean big business | Source: Matthew Wall, BBC Business News | Oct 8, 2012

In a world where 2.5 billion people still do not have access to basic sanitation facilities, and 1.5 million children die each year from preventable diseases as a result, there is a pressing need to find sustainable solutions to this most ancient of human problems.

But this isn’t just a humanitarian issue – it is also about hard-headed economics.

“The United Nations estimates that achieving the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation could save us $66bn [£41bn] in time, productivity, averted illness and death,” says Sanjay Bhatnagar, chief executive of WaterHealth International, a provider of water purification centres to developing economies.

“Every dollar spent on improving sanitation generates nine times the amount in economic benefit.”

In short, an ill workforce is an unproductive workforce. Improve health, improve productivity.

Flushed away
Flushing loos in one form or another have actually been around since the third millennium BC, as archaeological evidence from the Indus Valley Civilisation reveals.

But modern flush toilets, which use 10 times the average daily drinking water requirement, are hopelessly unsuited to countries with poor access to water or sewerage networks.

So the world’s finest scientists and inventors have been applying their technological know-how to the unglamorous but important issue, and coming up with some ingenious solutions.

In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, awarding $3.2m in grants to promising entrants.

The conditions were tough. Designs had to be hygienic, sustainable, cheap to operate, and capable of working “off-grid” – without connections to water, electricity, or sewerage networks.

Ideally, they should also be capable of reclaiming reusable materials from human waste.

In August this year, Bill Gates awarded the $100,000 first prize to Dr Michael Hoffmann, professor of environment science and engineering at the California Institute of Technology, for his team’s solar-powered loo.

Caltech PhD student Clement Cid with the new solar-powered sanitation system

It uses an electrochemical reactor to break down human waste into fertiliser and hydrogen gas, which can then be stored in electric fuel cells. The treated water can be reused to flush the loo or irrigate crops.

A panel of photovoltaic cells captures light and converts it into electricity stored in rechargeable batteries. One day’s light can produce enough power to run the entire electrochemical sanitation system night and day.

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Gates Foundation announces new round of grants for on-site sanitation

The Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is inviting innovators to send letters of inquiry for round 3 of the Reinvent The Toilet Challenge.

Successful applicants will receive grants to design, prototype and test on-site, self-contained sanitation modules for individual families or neighbourhoods. Self-contained means no connections to piped water, sewerage or energy (electricity/gas) utility services. with Capital and operational costs should not exceed US$ 0.05/user/day. Designs should be able to deal with sanitary products like paper, cloth, sand, and other personal hygiene products and chemicals.

There is a two-step application process:

  1. submission of a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) in the form of a 5 page concept note by  8 November 2012, 11:00pm PST
  2. eligible applicants will be requested to submit a full proposal

For the full call, submission guidelines and online application go to:


Cash Rewards Spur Poor Communities to Pay for Sanitation Projects

Cash Rewards Spur Poor Communities to Pay for Sanitation Projects | Source: by Nicole Wallace, Philanthropy.com – Sept 11, 2012

An international aid charity is taking an unorthodox approach to helping people in Cambodia and Vietnam improve sanitation and hygiene: It asks beneficiaries to help pay for the construction of latrines and hand-washing stations, but then gives them cash rewards when they get results. The effort will now spread, thanks to a $10.9-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Children try out a new hand-washing station. (Photograph by East Meets West Foundation)

The East Meets West Foundation, in Oakland, Calif., works with local groups to provide hygiene education, train masons to build high-quality latrines, and broker low-cost loans that families can use to install latrines and hand-washing devices. Families receive a $10 rebate to help offset construction costs after an independent group has verified that the latrine is in place.

Communities also get incentives: They receive cash awards to be put toward public-works projects, such as roads and sanitation facilities in schools, when the percentage of households that have latrines and hand-washing devices hits 30 percent, and the communities receive more money when those rates reach 95 percent.

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