Sarphati Sanitation Award Nominees revealed!


Sarphati Sanitation Award Nominees revealed!

Amsterdam, 17 October 2013 - Remarkable sustainable business solutions "turning shit into gold". That is the common denominator of the work of the three nominees, IDE Cambodia, Jack Sim and Sanergy. They were nominated by internationally reputable organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Water and Sanitation Programme of the Worldbank. There is a lot at stake.

It was not easy for the jury of four to make a selection out of the 24 excellent candidates. The three nominees have shown that it is very well possible to address sanitation and public health issues in developing countries while making profit. Over the past years interest has increased for new ways to address the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation. 

And the nominees are……..

IDE works to stimulate and strengthen local private sector sanitation markets in rural areas. Improved product options, innovative and effective sales and promotion, finance strategies and selling affordable latrines at a sustainable profit. Since 2008, in Cambodia alone, IDE has facilitated the sale of over 70,000 latrines benefitting an estimated 350,000 people. IDE received several international awards.

Sanergy won the MIT100K entrepreneurship competition 2011 with a simple business plan for sanitation and an appealing pitch. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most prestigious technical universities in the world. In the past two years, Sanergy has built 242 sanitation facilities run by 130 local entrepreneurs from Nairobi's slums, who earn $2,000 per year in income for their families while providing hygienic sanitation to 10,000+ residents.

Jack Sim is the founder of the Restroom Association of Singapore and the World Toilet Organization. After attaining financial independence at age of 40 as a businessman, he decided to devote the rest of his life to social work. Jack broke the global taboo of toilet and sanitation by bringing it to the global media centre-stage with his unique mix of humour and serious facts since 2001. He lobbied successfully for a UN status of the World Toilet Day on 19 November.

The first Sarphati Sanitation Award

The Sarphati Sanitation Award is a biennial international award honouring the outstanding contribution of an individual or organisation to the global sanitation and public health challenge through entrepreneurship. A cash prize of 50.000 Euro and a statue by famous Dutch artist Marte Röling will be awarded to the winner. The Sarphati Sanitation Award is an initiative of the Municipality of Amsterdam, World Waternet, Aqua for All and the Netherlands Water Partnership, and is endorsed by the Dutch Government.

The major challenge is to boost attention, capacity, innovation and investment to the field of sanitation and public health in order to achieve the MDG targets for 2015. It is evident that long-term attention and engagement is needed to provide the global population with access to clean and adequate sanitation. The Sarphati Sanitation Award aims to encourage this engagement.

Sarphati, from general practitioner to architect of health

The award is inspired by Dr Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866), general practitioner and town planner in Amsterdam in the mid-19th century. He was appalled by the bad sanitary conditions in the poorer quarters of the city and understood the importance of good hygiene. His compassion for his patients led him to initiate various entrepreneurial projects to improve the quality of life in the city and the health of its inhabitants.

In 1847, Sarphati linked the public and the private sector by establishing a company that collected the human waste of the city dwellers. Faeces and urine were transformed into manure for the agricultural sector. A true entrepreneur, Dr Sarphati applied the fertilizer to crops on his estate and brought fruit and vegetables back to Amsterdam for the benefit of his patients. The projects he initiated included also a bread factory that produced wholesome, affordable bread. Both the city and the rural areas around it benefitted tremendously from this initiative.  He understood that improving sanitation was key to improving the public health situation. His efforts helped to eradicate cholera from Amsterdam before the end of the 19th century.

Sanitation is at stake

The situation is not good for sanitation. Many countries still seem to live as in the 19th century Amsterdam. Reports like theProgress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water 2013 update,issued by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, stress the importance of Sanitation. The world has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water, well in advance of the MDG 2015 deadline. But the same report states that the world is still far from achieving the MDG target for sanitation, and is unlikely to do so by 2015. Now only 64% of the world has improved sanitation access, a figure that is projected to increase to only 67% by 2015, well below the 75% target laid down in the MDGs. Some 2.5 billion people still lack improved sanitation.

And the winner is……..

The jury panel of four will announce the final winner for the Sarphati Sanitation Award on 5 November. The Award will be presented by the Mayor of Amsterdam during the International Water Week (IWW) in Amsterdam. The panel consists of Mrs. Uschi Eid, Vice-Chair of the United Nations Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB); Mr. Kulwant Singh, Regional Advisor of UN-Habitat Asia; Arno Rosemarin, Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute and Mr. Johan de Bondt, Chairman of Amstel, Gooi and Vecht regional public Water Authority and Chairman of the jury.

Samuel Sarphati had to wait 200 years to send his first tweet. His efforts in 19th century Amsterdam however gave a push to improved sanitation and public health. In his spirit the organizing parties hope to give a push to improving the sanitation and public health situation of the 21st century.

Lisette Hombergen, Strategic Advisor External Relations