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Does Bill Gates Give a Shit

August 12, 2011

Does Bill Gates Give a Shit Does Bill Gates Give a Shit Does Bill Gates Give a Shit Does Bill Gates Give a Shit

Yes. He actually gives so much of a shit, that he's giving a shitload of money to shit…to be exact, to get rid of shit. And possibly make something good out of shit. Ok, lets straighten out this shit.

Recently the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted a total of $3 billion to 9 universities in order to literally "put their shit together" and quickly invent a toilet for developing regions, for the approximately 2.6 billion people who don't have access to safe sanitation. The flushing toilet, a tool we often take for granted is probably one of the innovations in the past 200 years that has done the most to save lives, improve health conditions and accelerate economic wellbeing. And yet it has not been modified for efficiency since its origins in the 1800s and worst of all, 200 and some years later, still has not reached two thirds of the worlds population. And that's no bullshit.

The toilet requires intricate sewer infrastructure as well as vast amounts of water, two very scarce commodities in the vast majority of the developing world. This leaves billions of people without a safe and reliable method of "doing number 2" causing serious health problems and even death. Reducing by half the number of people who don’t have access to basic sanitation is a key target of the United Nations’ 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

"Putting their shit together" for the granted universities means reinventing the toilet in order to achieve long lasting sanitation. It needs to be a hygienic, affordable and sustainable way to capture, treat and recycle human waste. There also needs to be a working relationship with individual communities to ensure the right solutions to their sanitation needs an customs. Some of the new tools and technologies being developed by the universities are waterless toilets, hygienic toilets that do not rely on sewer connections, or cutting edge technology that turns human waste into fuel that powers local communities, fertilizer for crops and even safe drinking water.

Improving sanitation methods also means cost effectiveness. The solution must be affordable, at no more than 5 cents per day per person and must be easy to install, use and maintain. As well as technological innovation, the strategy of the Gates Foundation looks to stimulate the demand for safe sanitation in both rural and urban communities through education and outreach awareness programs as well as advocacy for governments and private institutions to get involved.

Safe sanitation is not only a health issue, it is an important economic driver and key factor in the social development of a region. According to the World Health Organization improved sanitation can produce up to $9 for every $1 invested by increasing productivity, reducing health care costs, and preventing illness, disability, and early death. People with access to clean and convenient sanitation services also experience greater dignity, privacy, and security, which lead to health and economic recovery.

The Gates Foundation and the universities granted the funds have a great task on their shoulders, they are responsible for helping 2.6 billion people get out of their shit, and that's no easy shit. We can all find a way to make a difference in the lives of many… we just have to really give a shit!

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