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Gates Foundation Announces New Partnership To Improve Sanitation In India

“October 2, 2013, is the 144th birthday of [Mahatma Gandhi] and what better way for the Bill & Melinda Gates [Foundation] to celebrate this profound and inspirational leader than to announce our new partnership with [the government of India] in joint funding the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) to launch the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge – India,” Girindre Beeharry, director of the foundation’s India country office, and Carl Hensman, a program officer in the water, sanitation, and hygiene program at the foundation, write in the foundation’s “Impatient Optimists” blog. They discuss sanitation issues in India, writing, “Although around 275 million people gained access to improved sanitation between 1990 and 2011, 615 million still defecated in the open in 2011.” They add, “This is why we are investing in opportunities that extend affordable sanitation services to poor communities through innovations in business models, government policies and technologies that will develop a ‘next generation toilet’ that kills all pathogens, is self-contained, is affordable, and that people want to use” (10/2).