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.

A Tale of Two Cities: Accra and Dakar

On my recent trip to West Africa, I had the opportunity to visit two capital cities whose approaches to sanitation stand in sharp contrast. For me, it was a real lesson in how good governance and a single, well-constructed investment can make a world of difference.

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Menstrual Hygiene Day: A Milestone for Women and Girls Worldwide

This May 28th, more than 145 organizations from all over the world are coming together to celebrate the world’s first Menstrual Hygiene Day and help break the silence around menstrual hygiene management.

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What Happened at the “Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India” and What’s Next?

We saw a tremendous amount of progress at the 2014 “Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India” we held in New Delhi last month. Just 18 months after the first fair, our partners came to New Delhi with early versions of toilets that look like real commercial products. It was amazing to see so many ideas and technologies integrated into devices that can safely collect and processes human waste.

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Reinvent the Toilet Fair: India - Progress, Innovation, Excitement

Researchers from India and around the world were among the more than 700 participants who gathered to discuss how to bring safe sanitation to the 2.5 billion people who lack access. This was the second “toilet fair” hosted by the foundation; the first was in Seattle in 2012. This year’s event was co-hosted by the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology, with the support of the Ministry of Urban Development.

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Harnessing the Power of Cricket to Bowl Out Diarrhea in South Asia

While South Asia may place high in cricket rankings, it lags in sanitation and hygiene. More than 40% of people in the region do not have access to a toilet.

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