Friday, April 30, 2010

MIT honors rainwater system inventor - BP Agrawal

Congratulations BP!  Exciting times.

Article here.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 28 (UPI) -- B.P. Agrawal of Sustainable Innovations Corp. Wednesday won the Lemelson-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Award for Sustainability.

The $100,000 award honors Agrawal's invention of technology that improves access to clean water, healthcare and business development in rural India.

"Agrawal's creation of a community-driven rainwater harvesting system and mobile health clinics (has) the potential to improve the global public health system and better the quality of life for villagers in rural India," Lemelson-MIT officials said in a statement.

Agrawal's Aakash Ganga (River from the Sky) rainwater harvesting system is currently installed in six drought-prone villages in Rajasthan, the driest state in India.

"The AG system rents rooftops from homeowners and channels the rooftop rainwater through gutters and pipes to a network of underground storage reservoirs," officials said. "This network of reservoirs is designed to provide 10-12 liters of water daily to every person in an entire village for a year; to date, it has helped 10,000 villagers gain access to clean water."

Agrawal is also being recognized for creation of kiosk-based health clinics run by high school educated young women and designed to alleviate the shortage of trained medical staff and improve standardized treatment protocols for common ailments and preventable diseases in India.

He is to accept the award during a June ceremony at the Lemelson-MIT program's fourth annual EurekaFest at the university.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Water For People - Country Coordinator India - Position Open

Great job at one of my favorite organizations:

Country Coordinator – Water For People–India

Water For People is looking for a dynamic and enthusiastic leader for their programme in India. Based in Kolkata and managing a small staff team of ten, you will be responsible for a programme of over $1M and growing, with partnerships in 5 districts of West Bengal. Water For People is looking for someone who can build on the work of the last five years during which time innovative approaches have been modelled and continue to be developed in rural water supply maintenance, sanitation with zero subsidy, and school sanitation development. Your job will be to continue to drive innovation, but equally important to influence the sector (rural and urban) in finding ways of making government and private funds work more effectively in the pursuit of sustainable solutions for the poor. In West Bengal, we have a reputation to build on, while our contribution at national level is waiting for you to define. Water For People will provide a competitive package for the right person, but your motivation will be as much about wanting an opportunity to innovate and shape programmes in ways that you feel can provide lasting solutions, as it is about the financial rewards. Minimum of 10 years of development and management experience required.

For more details, please review the India Recruitment Packet.

To Apply

To apply, please submit your resume and a cover letter, which includes details of why you are interested in the position of Country Coordinator at Water For People–India and your salary expectations to careers (at) We ask that you also provide us with a list of references that we may contact beforehand. Unfortunately we cannot acknowledge everyone, so if you do not hear back from us, please understand that we are not considering you for the position at this time. Please no phones calls or in-person inquiries. The closing date for applications is Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 11:00 p.m. MST.

Click here for more details:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

High Level Meeting / Press briefing TODAY April 21, Washington DC



For billions still living without access to sanitation and water the cost of inaction is too high


Press briefing to:

(i) Launch of the UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS), which centralizes key information/data, highlights challenges and elucidates where efforts stagnate for achieving the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets.

(ii) Pre-meeting briefing: First annual High Level Meeting of Sanitation and Water for All, to be held on 23 April, to take stock of progress, decide how to increase the performance and effectiveness of the sector, and increase understanding of how investment in sanitation and water leads to greater economic and human development.


Mr. Bai-Mass Taal, Executive Secretary of the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW)

World Health Organization:
Dr Maria Neira, Director for the Department of Public Health and Environment

Clarissa Brocklehurst, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Civil Society:
Mr. Yakub Hossein, Freshwater Action Network South Asia (FANSA)

Donor representative:
Mr. Dick van Ginhoven, Sr. Water and Sanitation Advisor, The Netherlands


Ronald Reagan Building: The Hemisphere Room, Washington D.C.


Wednesday, 21 April 2010, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. EST

For a copy of the embargoed report and password see link below below. Please note the report is on a protected FTP site and under embargo until Wednesday 21 April 2010, 03:30 pm EST:

WHO link:

Password: ThroughtheGLAAS

For further information, please contact:

Geneva: Ms Nada Osseiran, Communications Officer, Public Health and Environment, WHO, Geneva, Tel. + 4122 7914475, Mobile +4179 445 1624, Email:;

Washington: Ms Donna Eberwine-Villagrán, Media relations, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Tel. + 1 202 974 3122, Email:

New York: Ms Saira Khan, UNICEF Media, New York, Tel: + 1 212 326 7224,

Washington: Mr Christopher Walsh, Communications Officer, Water and Sanitation Program,

Tel: + 1 202 473 4594, Email,

For media materials and info please visit:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Aveda / Earth Month / Walk for Water / Washington DC

Our friends at Aveda have done a LOT for global safe drinking water through the years. See for example this great article on Aveda's partnership with the Global Greengrants Fund here.

For Earth Month 2010, Aveda is organizing a series of 6km walks in a number of countries around the world. Click here for details on what's happening in your city. 

For those of you in and around Washington DC:

Monday, April 26th 2010/10:00 a.m.

• Join us on April 26th, to Celebrate Earth Month and Walk for Water in a 4 Mile Walk around Washington, DC’s prestigious monuments.

• Your participation helps support our local water resources through our Earth Month Partner The Potomac Conservancy.

• $25.00 Registration Fee gets you into the Walk, a “Walk for Water Survival Kit” which includes an exclusively designed AVEDA tank top, an AVEDA water bottle as well as one ticket entry for our raffle.

• 100% of your registration dollars is donated to The Potomac Conservancy.

• Parking is available on the street; 3 Hour Parking available on Ohio Drive; Closest Metro is Foggy Bottom and is suggested.

• Pets also welcome with strict clean-up guidelines.

For Registration & Details: Please call Michele Simpson at 703/535-8538 or Bonita Mann at 703/535-8254, 310/980-9230

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Water for the World Act passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Happy Wednesday.

Senator Richard Durbin and Senator Bob Corker both issued press releases yesterday praising the passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by unanimous agreement.  

For Sen. Corker's statements, see here.

For Sen. Durbin's statements (not online as of this morning), or for a copy of the Act as passed out of committee, send me an email.

Some excerpts:

“The needs around the world are tremendous, but our foreign aid dollars are limited. We need to make every single penny count by better focusing and coordinating our efforts,” said Corker. “A lack of clean water leads to the deaths of 1.8 million people year – 90 percent of them children, stifles economic growth, keeps women and girls from going to work and school, and has contributed to political unrest in Sudan and elsewhere. Experts tell us every $1 invested in safe drinking water and sanitation produces an $8 return in costs. I’m a fiscal conservative, and I want to see each of our foreign aid dollars go as far as possible, so for many reasons, I believe water is one of the wisest places we can invest.” 

“Access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation is a right that everyone in the world ought to enjoy but too few are able to realize,” Durbin said. “Water access is no longer simply a global health and development issue; it is a long-term threat that is increasingly becoming a national security issue. I hope the Senate can pass this legislation before this problem reaches a devastating tipping point.”

Building on the progress achieved through the Water for the Poor Act, Senator Durbin introduced the Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009 in March of 2009. With the goal of reaching 100 million people with first time access to clean drinking water and sanitation, Durbin’s Water for the World Act would do the following:

• Target underdeveloped countries with focused initiatives to improve access to clean water and sanitation;

• Foster global cooperation on research and technology development, including regional partnerships among experts on clean water;

• Provide technical assistance and capacity-building to develop expertise within countries facing water and sanitation challenges;

• Provide seed money for the deployment of clean water and sanitation technologies; and

• Strengthen the human infrastructure at USAID and the State Department to implement clean water and sanitation programs effectively and to ensure that water receives priority attention in our foreign policy efforts.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Informal Interactive Hearings of the General Assembly with Civil Society - April 16 deadline


There are a few opportunities for civil society organizations to participate in the upcoming meeting of the General Assembly. We would like one or more of the few civil society representatives to come from the global safe drinking water and sanitation sector.  Please visit this website for more details.

Here is some of what you will find at that page:

Nomination Form for a Speaking Role at the Informal Interactive Hearings of the General Assembly with Non-governmental organizations, Civil society organizations and the Private sector, United Nations HQ, 14-15 June.


In order to provide input to the preparatory process for the 'MDG summit' (High-level Plenary Meeting) on 20-22 September 2010, the UN General Assembly, in resolution 64/184, has asked the President of its 64th session, H.E. Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, to convene 'Informal Interactive Hearings of the General Assembly with Non-governmental organizations, Civil society organizations and the Private sector'.

The Hearings will take place from 14-15 June 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York.

The GA President has recently formed a Task Force of representatives of civil society and the private sector to advise him on the format and participation at the Hearings. The UN Secretary-General has also established a Trust Fund to support the participation of non-governmental and civil society representatives of developing countries in the Hearings and at the summit itself. All Member States in a position to do so have been asked to contribute generously to the Trust Fund.

Outcome of the Hearings

The aforementioned resolution encourages Member States to actively participate in the hearings at the ambassadorial level in order to facilitate interaction between the Member States and the representatives of non-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector. Furthermore, the resolution "requests the President of the Assembly to prepare a summary of the hearings, to be issued as an Assembly document prior to the High-level Plenary Meeting." (Paragraph 16) The outcome of the hearings will thus constitute a formal input into the political process leading to the summit itself.

Format of the Hearings

The exact format and substance of the Hearings are yet to be determined, but the resolution states: "The themes for the hearings will be based on the comprehensive report of the Secretary-General." (Annex III, Paragraph 4) This report is now available [link]. It takes stock of the status of implementation of the MDGs; emerging issues and challenges such as climate change and the global financial, economic and food crises; lessons learnt to accelerate progress at national and international levels; and an action-oriented agenda for the summit.

Among the themes identified for roundtable discussions during the summit that might be reflected in the hearing discussion are issues related to poverty, hunger and gender equality; health and education; sustainable development; emerging issues and evolving approaches; the special needs of the most vulnerable; and widening and strengthening partnerships. (Annex II, Paragraph 5)

The resolution also states that the informal interactive hearings "shall consist of a brief opening plenary meeting followed by four sequential sessions of the hearings on the basis of two sessions a day, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Each session will consist of presentations by invited participants from non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, civil society organizations and the private sector and an exchange of views with Member States." (Annex III, Paragraph 1).

The Task Force is currently discussing the themes and format of the hearings in greater detail and will provide more information in the coming weeks. Please visit for updates.

Speaker Nomination Process

The below Nomination Form serves as a way for you to nominate potential speakers at the event by 16 April at the latest. The Task Force will review all applicants and - using selection criteria that include ensuring regional and gender balance - will make a recommendation to the GA President on who should speak at the event. The entire membership of the General Assembly will have an opportunity to review the list as well.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Job: PATH, Program Officer, Safe Water Project, Tanzania

From our friends at PATH:

PATH is searching for a Program Officer to join its Safe Water Project in Tanzania. This position offers the opportunity to make an impact and work with the world's leading professionals in water and sanitation.

Ideal candidates will have an advanced degree in science/health-related discipline plus a minimum of five years experience working with governments, policymakers, international organizations and/or private sector in the areas of water and sanitation in Africa.

Simply click on the link to review this job and apply online

As an international, nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, we enable communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. PATH's mission is to improve the health of people around the world by advancing technologies, strengthening health systems, and encouraging healthy behaviors.

PATH has grown to nearly 900 employees, 32 offices around the world, and an annual budget of $250 million. PATH employees are passionate, smart, skilled, and absolutely committed to our vision where innovation ensures that health is within reach for everyone. We're dedicated to building an inclusive workforce where diversity is not only valued, it's critical to our success.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Safe Drinking Water, Sanitation, and HIV/AIDS

Recently published on the Pulitzer Center's World Water Day Writing Contest:

It's springtime 2010 and you are traveling through sub-Saharan Africa, say Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, back up to Uganda, in rural farming communities, in slums, in burgeoning cities. You see farmers supporting their families, workers putting in long days, parents stretching to send their sons and daughters to school and trying to save for a rainy day, presented with opportunities and obstacles similar to those facing many others across the planet.

You also see those same people struggling to escape from two massive public health challenges that for most of the rest of the planet are increasingly rare: a lack of safe drinking water and toilets, and HIV/AIDS. You return to your relatively comfortable home inspired to do something tangible and holistic about both issues.

In trying to figure out the linkages between WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) and HIV/AIDS, your research reveals that the two issues are more closely connected than you realized.

According to USAID, "People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are at increased risk for diarrheal diseases, and are far more likely to suffer severe and chronic complications if infected. Recent evidence demonstrates the efficacy of hand washing, safe water and sanitation in reducing diarrhea among PLWHA by 25% or more." That makes sense, and is even more convincing to you than the brutally true soundbite "You can't take antiretrovirals without safe drinking water, because you'll either throw them up or lose them out the other end because of diarrhea."

And on the flipside, USAID continues: "And people living without safe water and sanitation, with the dire poverty that often accompanies it, are likely less educated and more likely to contract HIV." So people living with HIV need safe water and toilets to prevent potentially fatal opportunistic diarrhea, and those people with safe water and toilets are less likely to become the next victims of HIV.

So what do you do?

You start by volunteering with a water and sanitation nonprofit focused on providing HIV/AIDS treatment centers and surrounding communities in Tanzania with safe drinking water, with toilets, and with handwashing stations and soap. That nonprofit with its holistic approach to both drinking water and HIV works with entire communities to make sure there is 100% handwashing with soap, and zero open defecation, thus reducing the risk of waterborne diarrhea (e.g. cholera) transmission, particularly for those with immune systems compromised by HIV. All brought to you by safe water.

You write letters to Congress, suggesting that taxpayer-funded HIV treatment initiatives like PEPFAR continue their life-saving work with ARVs, but also include complementary safe drinking water and sanitation programs both for outpatients at HIV clinics and for their families and communities.

You blog and tweet that HIV/AIDS is receiving an enormous amount of funding, and justifiably so, but diarrheal disease, 90% of which is caused by unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation, continues to kill millions of under fives annually. You underscore to your followers that the world has known how to solve the water problem for over a century and that fatal waterborne diarrhea should be eliminated across the planet.

You acknowledge to yourself that if every human life is indeed equal, you can ignore neither HIV-positive people nor those susceptible to easily preventable, fatal waterborne diarrhea.

This holistic approach will take a big bite out of the 4,500 daily child deaths associated with unsafe water and sanitation, and contribute to a better quality of life and longer survival times for people living with HIV/AIDS.

So the next time you travel through sub-Saharan Africa, you will see farmers farming, workers earning their paychecks, girls going to school, without the twin scourges of unsafe water and HIV shadowing their lives.

The Brad Paisley H2O World Tour 2010 and Hope Through Healing Hands

For those of you who are fans of safe drinking water, toilets, and country and/or western music, you'll dig this. I just heard from Jenny Dyer at Senator Frist's foundation about The Brad Paisley H2O World Tour 2010.

As a quick aside, Senator Frist (former Majority Leader of the Senate Frist) was a driving force behind the Water for the Poor Act of 2005, which most recently received a $315m appropriation from the U.S. Congress to bring safe drinking water and sanitation to struggling communities in developing countries.  If Bill Frist likes Brad Paisley, I like Brad Paisley, so go see the concerts and write HFHH a check. And please report back to me on the Chevy H2O FLW fishing simulator - very curious...

Hope Through Healing Hands Announces

The Water=Hope Campaign in partnership with

The Brad Paisley H2O World Tour 2010

Nashville, TN – Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH) announces the title of its upcoming campaign for clean, safe water around the world: The Water=Hope Campaign.

Last Monday, March 22, 2010 was World Water Day, a day to draw attention to the one out of five people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water, and Brad Paisley announced the first leg of his highly anticipated 2010 tour, H2O World Tour presented by Chevy. Hope Through Healing Hands is excited to partner with Brad Paisley and his H20 Tour 2010 with a campaign for clean, safe water.

The Water=Hope Campaign will promote awareness and advocacy for safe water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene, especially in low-income countries. At each show, HTHH will have a booth to distribute literature and encourage people to learn more about how they can get involved. Prior to the show, fans will have the opportunity to text their donations to support clean water initiatives around the globe.

With donations made to the campaign at each tour stop, HTHH will be digging wells and purifying water here in the U.S. and in some of the areas in the world that are in the most desperate need for clean, safe water.

H2O World Tour will include a “Water World Plaza,” sponsored by Sea Ray Boats and Skinny Water, and will turn every city into a water festival. Focal point in the Plaza area will be the “Water World Plaza Stage” featuring emerging new stars Easton Corbin, Steel Magnolia and Josh Thompson. The tour extravaganza will open each day at 4:00pm with music starting at 5:00pm. In addition to the music stage there will be multiple water-themed activities – including a Chevy H2O FLW fishing simulator, dunking booth, Hope Through Healing Hands’ campaign booth, and more.

H2O World Tour will hit more than 75 cities in the United States, Canada and Europe over the next 12 months. Chevy is title sponsor for the tour. Special guests for the tour will include Darius Rucker and Justin Moore. Appropriately, Paisley’s current hit single is “Water,” from his American Saturday Night album.

About Hope Through Healing Hands:

Hope Through Healing Hands is a Nashville-based 501(c) (3) that promotes improved quality of life for citizens and communities around the world using health as a currency for peace. HTHH supports health students and residents to do service and training in underserved clinics around the world. For more information, go to