CLTS pioneer Dr. Kamal Kar features in Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list published in December 2010. He is ranked at place 84 “for doing the world’s dirty work”. First place in the top 100 is reserved for billionaire philanthropists Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
Below is the full text as it appears in Foreign Policy:
Kamal Kar spends much of his time thinking about something that many of us would rather not: where and how people poop. It’s not pretty, but improving sanitation is one of the most important aspects of overcoming poverty and waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera, which kill millions of people every year. That’s where Kar, an agricultural scientist by training, comes in. Sanitation is about people, not pipes, he says: “It’s not a question of counting toilets.” Once toilets and sewers are built, getting communities to use them is often a tougher challenge: for example in Bangladesh, where defecating indoors had been strictly taboo.* He suggests such tactics as giving children whistles to blow whenever they see someone defecating outside — a sort of constructive peer pressure.
And it works. After Bangladesh adopted Kar’s ideas, latrine coverage skyrocketed from just 33 percent in 2003 to more than 70 percent today. Kar’s “community-led total sanitation” method is now at work in 39 countries around the world.