Water For People was awarded the maximum grant of $200,000 for an innovative sanitation project in Malawi designed to reduce the incidence of diarrhea through hygiene education, the use of children’s latrines, and the production of compost for sale.
Financed by The World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the global Development Marketplace grants range from $50,000 to $200,000. The event is held by The World Bank every 12 to 18 months and brings proposal finalists to Washington, D.C., for final review by a jury of World Bank officials and development professionals. This year’s focus was health, nutrition, and population.
Water For People’s proposal, which was the work of a number of staff members and Malawian partners, was one of 104 finalists selected from more than 2,900 applications. Only 22 awards were granted this year.
The overall goal of the Water For People proposal is to reduce diarrhea by 40% in two rural Malawian traditional authorities, including 31 schools and more than 100 villages, by improving sanitation practices and facilities. The multifaceted approach targets toddlers and young children by promoting the use of ecological latrines while eliminating open defecation common in the region. The program includes the distribution of child-size “arbor-loos” that allow children to defecate safely and then, when the pit latrine is full, they can plant a tree and move the toilet to another location. The program also includes a component targeted at adults, where latrines are constructed that can transform fecal waste from a health threat to valuable compost, which is then sold. The program uses children as agents of change at school and in the household, a model that has proven effective for promoting long-term changes in health and hygiene practices.