Lode Roels

The United Nations designated November 19, 2013, as World Toilet Day. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge. World Toilet Day is urging changes in both behaviour and policy on issues ranging from enhancing water management to ending open-air defecation.

On this international awareness day, Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, is proud to announce two grants in the Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) program that fosters innovation in global health research. Grand Challenges Canada and partners are co-funding two projects in Ghana that are sanitation-related.

Olufunke Cofie of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) in Ghana will develop and test fortified fertilizer pellets from treated human excreta for market sale with funding from Grand Challenges Canada, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). If successful, the production at large scale would enhance agricultural productivity in sub-Saharan Africa while also contributing to reduction in environmental health risk from untreated human waste.

Arthur Mumtaz of Biofilcom Limited is scaling the Microflush Biofil Toilet from individual prototypes to a community-wide sanitation solution. The Biofil toilet system is a low-cost, safe, off-grid alternative to septic tanks and pit latrines. With new funding from Grand Challenges Canada and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the aim is to independently validate the toilet as a safe toilet system, and to develop a business model with secured financing to scale up production that is affordable to poor communities.

For a full list of grantees and to watch videos about their work, visit gccadmin.staging.wpengine.com/grantees.

In addition, join us on Facebook and Twitter regular updates. For World Toilet Day, follow @worldtoiletday and hashtags #worldtoiletday, #WeCantWait, #ToiletDay on Twitter