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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.

Innovation: Finding the Problems and Solutions in the World Around Us

The invention of a spaceship that can make sophisticated discoveries 140 million miles away is an extraordinary feat on the part of the human race. But there are other extraordinary innovations that don’t require a billion-dollar piece of equipment. Sometimes, all they require is stuff that’s just lying around.

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Celebrating new African Scientific Leadership - Welcome Grand Challenges Africa

Investments in science, technology and entrepreneurship have enabled many of today’s global health and development successes, including an astounding reduction in child mortality and a broadening of access to clean water and sanitation. They have helped to create jobs and wealth, especially for young people. And they have put us on a path toward a life of dignity for all.

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An Unexpected Question: Mandy Moore Advocates for Sanitation in India

Actress, singer/songwriter and PSI Global Ambassador Mandy Moore meets with a group of women in Bihar, India, who took out a loan together to build a toilet for their community.

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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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