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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Topics / Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene

About 2.6 billion people use unsafe toilets or defecate in the open.  Poor sanitation causes severe diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million children each year.  Smart investments in sanitation can reduce disease, increase family incomes, keep girls in school, help preserve the environment, and enhance human dignity.

Learn more below and visit the program page for more details about our work in this area.

Menstruation Matters: Why Menstrual Hygiene Management is Core to Our Contract with the Future

On any given day, more than 800 million women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating worldwide. That’s right, I said it: menstruating. Menstrual hygiene is a harbinger of gender equality. It depends upon equal access to the right types of sanitation facilities, accurate information shared by men and women alike, and shared ownership from men and women across sectors and government ministries.

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Swachh Bharat: It's Not Just About Toilets

On World Toilet Day, I joined Vikram Chandra and guests for a conversation on Swachh Bharat, the Government of India’s campaign for a clean India. Among other aspects of the campaign, we discussed the role of the private sector in taking on India’s sanitation challenge. For my part, I believe that the private sector can bring a number of critical skills to bear.

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The Spirit of Swachh Bharat: Safe Sanitation for Women and Girls

For too long the world has invested in sanitation infrastructure that doesn’t work for everyone. Toilets only serve their purpose if they are used. And nobody wants to use a toilet that isn’t clean or safe, particularly for women and girls.

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Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development: Sanitation

We want to better understand the impact of poor sanitation on women and children and the role women play in sanitation investments, decisions, and expenses at a household level.

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Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development

Our first Grand Challenge on gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment signals a more concerted push to put women and girls at the center of our work.

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