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.

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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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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