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| Last Updated:26/03/2014

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South Africa: Govt, Bill Gates Foundation to Partner On Sanitation Solutions, 24 March 2014


Pretoria — The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have entered into a collaboration agreement on sanitation innovation solutions for South Africa.


A MoU titled 'Partnership in the Demonstration of Sanitation Solutions in Rural and Peri-urban South Africa' - was announced in India at this year's Reinvent the Toilet Fair, which is currently underway.


The DST wants to fund the research, development, demonstration and manufacturing of sanitation technologies and solutions in South Africa, with the goal of ensuring universal access to sanitation.


The BMGF's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WSH) programme focuses on developing innovative approaches and technologies that can lead to radical and sustainable improvements in sanitation in the developing world.


The DST has committed R30 million to do field tests on technologies developed as part of the BMGF's global Reinvent the Toilet Challenge in rural communities and schools. The BMGF is contributing US$1 million to support this testing.


"By applying creative thinking and innovative approaches to sanitation challenges, we can dramatically improve the health of women, children and communities. We have no doubt that this new partnership with the Government of South Africa will help us achieve this," said Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Programs of the BMGF.


"We believe that the pairing of South Africa's governmental leadership with new business models and innovative sanitation solutions will dramatically increase the progress that has already been made in tackling the global sanitation crisis."


Globally, 2.5 billion people do not have access to safe toilets, which is dangerous to the health and well-being of children. It also undermines women and girls' dignity and safety, and hinders economic development and growth.


Through the DST-BMGF partnership, the department wants to provide alternative, non-sewer sanitation solutions to communities in South Africa that will not have access to water-borne sanitation in the short and medium term.


Sanitation in South Africa, particularly in the rural and peri-urban environment, remains a huge challenge despite significant strides made to reduce the sanitation backlog since 1994. The situation has been exacerbated by population growth over the same period. The South African National Sanitation Strategy (2005) set out the aim of universal access to sanitation by 2010, in line with the Millennium Development Goals.