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Gates Foundation Announces Sanitation Grants, Calls For Toilet Innovation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced on Tuesday that it plans to invest millions of dollars in projects aimed at improving sanitation in the developing world, the Guardian reports (Ford, 7/19).

The Gates Foundation will provide $42 million in grants for “reinventing the toilet,” the Seattle Times reports (Heim, 7/19). During a speech at the 2011 AfricaSan Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, “Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation’s Global Development Program, called on donors, governments, the private sector, and NGOs to address the urgent challenge, which affects nearly 40 percent of the world’s population,” a Gates Foundation press release states (7/19).

“The grants announced Tuesday include $3 million toward a university challenge to develop a toilet that costs less than five cents a day without piped-in water, sewer connection or outside electricity,” the Seattle Times notes, adding that $8.5 million has been allocated for a project with USAID (7/19). Maura O’Neill, chief innovation officer and senior counselor to the administrator at USAID, discusses the project, called WASH for Life, in a post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog” (7/19).