Thai university partners with Gates Foundation on clean water

Clean water and sanitation are things many of us take for granted. In the developing world, they can be a matter of life and death, especially for children. Now a Thai tech institute and the Gates Foundation will work together to expand better hygiene across Asia.

Thailand’s Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) has formed a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to found the Global Water & Sanitation Center at the school just north of Bangkok with the goal of expediting water, sanitation, and hygiene agendas in Asia.

“With almost half of the world population still lacking access to safe sanitation and management, we realized that we needed different approaches to reach this incredibly aspirational goal,” said Director Brian Arbogast, Water Sanitation & Hygiene at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation during a ceremony to launch the center.

“Climate change is having a bigger impact and with the rapid urbanization, challenges are becoming harder,” Arbogast added.

Lack of clean water, hygiene and sanitation are worldwide problems, and Southeast Asia is no exception. According to UNICEF, “nearly 910 million people still do not have safe sanitation services and an estimated 116 million lack basic drinking water” in East Asia alone.

The new center in Thailand will work with government agencies, international financing institutions, and development partners to expedite water, sanitation, and hygiene agendas in Asia.

The center will focus on four initial initiatives: the founding of a Technical Assistance Hub, the development and scaling up of an Integrated Municipal Information System, improving the National Sanitation Dashboard, and launching a Women in Sanitation Enterprises Project.

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