Gates Foundation to continue support to Kerala sanitation projects


Thiruvananthapuram : The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has committed to continue supporting sanitation projects in India and make the facility “affordable and accessible” for people.

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“We are keen on extending support to ESS (Eram Scientific Solutions) to address the issue of sanitation in India. The aim is to achieve 100 percent sanitation which is affordable and accessible,” Doulaye Kone, senior programme officer – water, sanitation and hygiene, BMGF, said here Saturday evening.

The Kerala-based ESS is Asia’s only recipient of Reinvent The Toilet Challenge (RTTC) grant of about Rs.3 crore extended by the BMGF.

Kone is here to analyse operations of ESS, which develops technically and economically viable futuristic toilets for use by common people. Till date, the organisation has successfully implemented close to 450 e-toilet projects in various parts of the country.

The BMGF carries out its sanitation drive across the world through 30 research and development organisations like ESS.

An important challenge for the BMGF is to bring down the cost of sanitation technologies to make the facility more affordable and ESS is currently partnering with the University of South Florida to develop such technologies.

Daniel Yeh, a professor at the University of South Florida, told IANS that a new technology has already been developed and is being tested in a primary school in Florida. The technology converts human waste into energy resources.

“We have visited Kuttanad in Alappuzha district and are developing customised solutions to address the specific challenges of such areas in India,” said Yeh.

Alappuzha is a popular tourist destination in Kerala where farming activities take place below the sea level.