The Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation have introduced a program called The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program. In 2011, this program introduced a design initiative, The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge (RTTC), which brought forward sustainable sanitation solutions in developing countries, like India and Kenya.
It is evident that improved sanitation holds great importance and is majorly required in such developing countries. It is estimated that approximately 40% of the world’s population, 2.5 billion people, have little to inadequate sanitation facilities. Poor sanitation is a major cause of diarrhea in children living in developing countries, causing major bacterial diseases, in turn, 700,000 children perish each year due to diarrhea (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, 2015).
Based on Fundamental Engineering processes, grants have been “awarded to sixteen researchers around the world who are using innovative approaches for the safe and sustainable management of human waste” (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, 2015). In addition to this, other investments have been implemented to reinvent the toilet. Through these grants and investments, the foundation is able focus on issues, such as waste, which has the potential of long-term effects (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Overview, 2012).
The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge has the hope of designing a toilet which is able to remove human waste, making it profitable as it obtains valuable resources such as clean water, energy as well as nutrients. Loughborough University has developed a user friendly, fully operational household toilet system that transforms feces into biochar through hydrothermal carbonization of fecal sludge” (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, 2015).
In order to achieve this design initiative of reinventing the toilet, cost is taken into consideration, with the overall cost being less than US$0.05 cents per user, per each day (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, 2015). In doing so, this challenge demonstrates sustainable, yet financially profitable sanitation services which operate in urban areas in developing countries.
This challenge has already been implemented in many developing nations, like India. In 2013, through the collaboration of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Government of India and India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge was launched in India, in the long run this will support sanitation research as well as development projects which are conducted to extend affordable sanitation research to the more poorer communities (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, 2015). This challenge, in partnership with Gates Foundation and BIRAC, strive to reduce the mortality rate of women and children, and come to a reasonable and practical method of beating infectious diseases, while undertaking scientific and technical agricultural and nutritional advancements (Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, 2015).
Through funding provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and partnering sponsors, ‘The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Program’ are able to set up a design initiative, The Reinvent the Toilet Challenge. With its still ongoing progress, they hope to continue to introduce and bring forward practical and sustainable sanitation solutions, which in the long run, hope to improve the health and overall lifestyle of people living in developing countries.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2015, Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, viewed 22 April 2015, <http://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Development/Reinvent-the-Toilet-Challenge>
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2015, Water,Sanitation & Hygiene, viewed 22 April 2015, <http://www.gatesfoundation.org/What-We-Do/Global-Development/Water-Sanitation-and-Hygiene>
Gates, B Gates, M & Buffett,W, 2012, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene: Strategy Overview, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pp.7, viewed 23 April 2015, <https://docs.gatesfoundation.org/Documents/wsh-strategy-overview.pdf>