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Boy, 11, uses Tippy Toppy in Indonesia. Credit: Jim Holmes, Oxfam GB

Boy, 11, uses Tippy Toppy in Indonesia. Credit: Jim Holmes, Oxfam GB

The Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF), a grantmaking fund designed to support organizations in developing new technologies to make humanitarian aid more effective, has launched a new initiative to encourage innovation in emergency water, sanitation and hygiene.

With support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the HIF’s WASH initiative aims to foster innovation and finance WASH solutions that will help save lives and reduce suffering during disasters and humanitarian crises.

To this end, the HIF has announced its first challenge: for latrine lighting in emergencies. To address safety concerns for those using latrines in refugee or displaced persons camps at night, the HIF is calling on problem solvers to submit a design for an effective lighting system for communal latrines that is both economical and unlikely to be vandalized or stolen. Applicants must submit their written proposals by March 16 and the winning idea will receive $20,000.

To read regular updates on the HIF’s new WASH initiative and stay informed about upcoming challenges, visit the program’s page on Storify or follow @The_HIF on Twitter.

The HIF is the product of a partnership between Enhancing Learning & Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA) and ALNAP, with support from DFID, the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and the Canadian International Development Agency.

Water.org has announced a $6.3 million (€ 4.7 million) grant from the IKEA Foundation in support of its efforts to provide access to safe water and sanitation for a hundred and eighty thousand people in Bangladesh.

The grant will help fund two Water.org programs — WaterCredit, a microfinance program that provides families with small loans to meet their water and sanitation needs, and the New Ventures Fund, which was launched in 2011 and supports the development of solutions to the global water and sanitation crisis. To date, the organization has invested $8 million in philanthropic capital in the WaterCredit program — investments that, according to Water.org, reach five to ten times as many people as a traditional grant over a ten-year period. Those funds, in turn, have leveraged $40 million in commercial capital, helping more than one million people in five countries gain access to safe water or sanitation.

IKEA Foundation Awards 6.3 Million to Water.Org

The water and sanitation crisis in Bangladesh affects both rural and urban areas and stems from both water scarcity and water quality. While the country has made progress in supplying safe water to its residents, severe disparities on a community-by-community basis remain, while diarrheal diseases kill more than a hundred thousand children a year.

"The IKEA Foundation's support represents the first time a corporate foundation has funded both our proven WaterCredit model as well as the design of new, innovative models through our New Ventures Fund," said Water.org co-founder and CEO Gary White. "By supporting the development of game-changing approaches, the IKEA Foundation is setting the bar for how companies can drive the critical innovation needed to end the water and sanitation crisis."

"IKEA Foundation Awards € 4.7 Million ($6.3 Million) to Water.org." Water.org Press Release 01/21/2014.

Our team at WASHfunders.org is pleased to announce several new enhancements to the site.

The funding map now includes a data feed from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). IATI is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve the transparency of aid. Following consultations with donor and developing countries, the initiative developed a common, open standard for the publication of aid information. The new tab of IATI data found in WASHfunders complements the OECD data currently available on the site and provides substantially more detailed information about aid flows, including project-level information, when available.

IATI tab in WASHfunders Funding Map

   
In addition, we have updated our full suite of development indicators on the funding map, including indicators for improved water source and improved sanitation. Most indicators now reflect 2011 and 2012 data. 

Finally, as many of you know, we regularly update grantmaking data displayed on the map. Nearly 100 new grants have been added in the past two months. We have also added funder profiles for the Osprey Foundation and Fundacion Avina. If you would like your information included on WASHfunders, contact us at washfunders@foundationcenter.org.

Collectively, these improvements continue to make WASHfunders a useful first stop for anyone interested in understanding the current state of water access and sanitation, as well as funding flows in support of WASH.

In the coming months, we’ll be adding new data streams to the site. If there are particular data feeds you would like to see integrated into WASHfunders, let us know in the comments section below.

Roddenberry Foundation

The J. Craig Venter Institute, a nonprofit genomic research organization in La Jolla, California, has announced a $5 million grant from the Roddenberry Foundation for the development of wastewater treatment technologies.

The grant will be used to fund the development of JCVI scientist Orianna Bretschger's BioElectrochemical Sanitation Technology (BEST), which uses microbial fuel cells (MFC) to treat wastewater and improve sanitation and water accessibility in the developing world. As the microbes in MFCs break down the organic matter in sewage and other types of wastewater, they produce electrons. The rapid movement of electrons across a fuel cell circuit generates electricity while accelerating the breakdown of the organic matter, resulting in fewer treatment byproducts such as sludge. The efforts of Bretschger's team already have led to the successful treatment of municipal wastewater and sewage sludge at a 100-gallon per-day scale, the amount of wastewater produced by a small household on a daily basis.

"Dr. Bretschger's MFC sustainable wastewater treatment project is exactly the type of innovative, field-changing research that fits our mission," said Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, president of the Roddenberry Foundation and son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. "Her use of microbes to convert human waste into clean water and electricity is another step toward making disease a thing of the past. Her work also moves us closer to a future where all humankind's most basics needs are not just met but abundantly supplied. In the world of Star Trek, technology offers a catalyst to the natural world in making amazing things possible."

Source: “Roddenberry Foundation Gives $5 Million to J. Craig Venter Institute for Sustainable Wastewater Treatment Technology Development.” J. Craig Venter Institute Press Release 7/10/13.

For additional WASH-related philanthropy news, see the news feed on WASHfunders.org. 

African Ministers' Council on Water

The African Ministers' Council on Water, an initiative of the African Union, has announced a three-year, $2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to build its capacity for sanitation policy development, monitoring and evaluation coverage, and WASH-related advocacy across the continent.

Awarded through the foundation's global development program, the grant will be used to provide training and technical assistance in four countries working to develop and adopt effective sanitation and hygiene policies and plans; organize the fourth AfricaSan conference as a mechanism for tracking progress, refining targets, and enabling peer support and advocacy for implementation of the 2008 eThekwini Declaration and AfricaSan Action Plan; and help countries fulfill their obligations to report to the AU.

"We face tremendous challenges of diminishing access to clean water and safe sanitation," said AMCOW executive secretary Bai Mass Taal. "AMCOW is committed to working with partners such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reduce this scourge and improve access to safe sanitation, thereby achieving our overall goal of decreasing poverty and disease in the continent."

Source: “African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) Gets US$2 Million Grant to Improve Sanitation Coverage in Africa.” African Ministers' Council on Water Press Release 12/18/12.

University of Toronto

The University of Toronto has announced a $2.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of ongoing efforts to design a waterless hygienic toilet that is safe and affordable for people in the developing world.

Engineering professor Yu-Ling Cheng, director of the Centre for Global Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, and her team, which includes researchers from Western University and the University of Queensland, placed third in the Gates Foundation's Reinvent the Toilet Challenge last August. Working with partners in Bangladesh, Cheng's team hopes to build an operational prototype by December 2013 that uses readily available materials and equipment that can be maintained locally.

The team's solution uses a sand filter and UV disinfection to process liquid waste and a smolder chamber — similar to a charcoal barbeque — to incinerate solid waste that has been flattened and dried in a roller/belt assembly. The team will work to further simplify the process, reduce mechanical complexity of the device, and minimize odor.

"I am very proud of our entire team and the work we have done up to now," said Cheng. "We have proven that our concept works technically; now we are going to get busy to make sure it will work for the users — some of the 2.6 billion people in the world who do not have access to basic sanitation."

Source: “U of T Engineers Awarded $2.2 Million Grant for Toilet Research.” University of Toronto Press Release 11/28/12.

For additional WASH-related philanthropy news, see the news feed on WASHfunders.org.

129 New Grants Added to WASHfunders

In the first data refresh since WASHfunders’ launch on October 19, 2011, 129 new grants have been added to the site’s funding map. These grant monies were awarded between 2009 and 2011 by 40 foundations to nearly 100 unique organizations and represent more than $48 million in funding for WASH projects globally. Newly added grants can be easily viewed by clicking on the “new additions” option on the funding map.

The Foundation Center’s grants database is updated on an ongoing basis, as new grants information becomes available and is coded by the Center’s indexing staff. Grants information is collected through a variety of means, including from foundations themselves via quarterly electronic grant reporting (the Center’s mechanism for obtaining the most current and complete information about foundation grantmaking) and from IRS forms. In addition, as the Foundation Center expands its global reach, new grants from foundations outside the U.S. are regularly being added to the database.

In fact, five of the 40 foundations represented among the new grants are foundations outside of the U.S. For example, the Pro Victimis Foundation, based in Switzerland, awarded six grants totaling more than $630,000 in support of clean water projects, including projects in Guatemala and El Salvador. The King Baudouin Foundation, based in Belgium, awarded 14 grants for WASH efforts, amounting to more than $540,000.

Moving forward, grants data will be updated on a monthly basis, so keep making those return visits to WASHfunders to see where foundations are directing their grant dollars.

As always, if you don’t see your grants represented or if you have any feedback for us, send us a note at washfunders@foundationcenter.org.

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