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AMCOW AfricaSan Awards 2010 Winners: Feliciano dos Santos, Takiso Achame and David Kuria

A musician and activist whose songs about using latrines and washing hands are positively influencing the hygiene practices of communities in Mozambique; a widow who has risen through her caste status to lead a campaign against open defecation in her village in Ethiopia; and a toilet entrepreneur whose innovative partnership with local authorities is changing the way public toilets in Kenyan towns are managed, are the top winners of this year’s AMCOW AfricaSan Awards.

Feliciano dos Santos. Photo: © Steven Fisch Photography / The Independent

Musician Feliciano dos Santos was announced winner of the Grassroots Champion Award for dedicating his life and his music to campaigning for better public health through clean water and adequate sanitation. Santos and his Massukos Band have been using music to inspire thousands of villagers in rural Mozambique to curb the spread of disease by adopting good hygiene practices, such as washing hands, boiling drinking water and building latrines.

Takiso Achame, a widowed member of a traditionally discriminated community in the remote village of Shashera in Southern Ethiopia, was picked for the Distinguished Woman Leader in Sanitation for her exemplary local leadership over a communal cause. Even though her community often attracts the least attention from health promoters and local leaders in terms of accessing water supply, sanitation and hygiene services including awareness, Achame has become the self-appointed champion to eliminate open defecation in her village.

David Kuria won the Public Service Award for implementing a partnership model that is delivering safe, clean and affordable sanitation to the urban poor in Kenya. His company, Ecotact, is pioneering a private-public partnership approach with local authorities, and water and sewerage utilities to build public toilet malls in urban centres and informal settlements. By demonstrating the viability of sanitation as a business, David has been able to attract more than US$1.2 Million for the construction of 40 public toilet facilities in 12 municipalities in Kenya.

The top winners were announced by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) Task Force on Sanitation during the Africa Water Week being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (November 22-26, 2010).

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