India: minister invites Gates Foundation to help find solutions to sanitation problems

The Ministry of Rural Development has invited the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to partner with it in finding solutions to the sanitation problems in India, where 50 per cent of the country’s 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation.

Jairam Ramesh and Bill Gates, 30 May 2012. Photo: PTI

On the 2nd day of his visit to India, Bill Gates spoke with Rural Development Minister and the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Jairam Ramesh. The Minister called for the launch of a global joint initiative to develop low-cost, clean toilets for railways. In India, 11 million passengers commute daily without proper hygienic facilities. Mr. Ramesh also sought help from Gates to pilot sanitation promotion campaigns along the lines of India’s successful Pulse Polio campaign [1].

In July 2011, the Gates Foundation launched its new sanitation strategy to “Reinvent the Toilet” [2]. Mr. Ramesh asked Gates to focus more on India and partner with Indian research institutes to develop low-cost sanitation solutions. The minister said that 58% of all people in the world practising open defecation live in India [1].

Watch a video clip of the meeting between Jairam Ramh and Bill Gates in New Delhi.

In November 2011, the Gates Foundation awarded a US$ 5 million grant to the Institute for Financial Management and Research in Chennai to to develop an innovative, sustainable, scalable urban community sanitation model [3] .

Mr. Gates has agreed to hold the 2013 Reinventing the Toilet summit in India [4].

[1] Gates Foundation evinces interest in finding solutions to sanitation problem in India, PIB, 30 May 2012

[2] Reinventing the toilet: Gates Foundation launches new sanitation strategy and grants, Sanitation Updates, 18 Jul 2011

[3] Bill % Melinda Gates Foundation, Nov 2011

[4] Gates Foundation could help hunt for cleaner railway toilets, The Hindu, 31 May 2012

One response to “India: minister invites Gates Foundation to help find solutions to sanitation problems

  1. I sometime wonder that many national level and trans-national agencies supporting the government of India and its state government through their technical, facilitation and monitoring support, were not able to develop such models that Bill Gates now wants to see? In last 50+ years? In the era of huge infrastructure development in housing sector and with lot of innovations for urban clans in building construction, our rural populations are deprived of such innovations for their basic facilities even after the hard efforts of our sanitation experts and specialists. With the claims that international learning and sharing is on, one would hardly see innovations in rural drinking water supply and rural sanitation sector being in real sense shared by our expert agencies from elsewhere in the developing countries. Can we have such competent and innovative technical experts and specialist in agencies working in sanitation sector those could devise and work for our rural communities to come-over from such situation? One would wish to see that…

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