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Jan-10-2008 21:28printcomments

Ashoka-Lemelson Fellows Bolster Support for 2008 International Year of Sanitation

Innovative entrepreneurs are solving global social issues concerning hygiene, household sanitation and wastewater.

Inventor Jerome Lemelson
Jerome Lemelson, known to his friends and family as "Jerry," lived the quintessential American dream. The holder of more than 550 patents, Lemelson and his remarkably creative intellect touched almost ever facet of our every day lives.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - The Lemelson Foundation and Ashoka: Innovators for the Public have recognized and supported five Ashoka-Lemelson Fellows whose innovative business models meet sanitation needs at the local, national or global level. The Fellows -- Isaac Durojaiye (Nigeria), Sameh Ghali (Egypt), Agus Gunarto (Indonesia), Juan Carlos Calizaya Luna (Peru) and Jack Sim (Singapore) -- underscore the United Nations (U.N.) Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the 2.6 billion people worldwide who lack basic sanitation by 2015. According to the MDG Report released by the U.N. in July 2007, open defecation, poor hygiene and lack of safe drinking water contribute to 88 percent of deaths in children under five due to diarrheal disease. As the U.N. focuses this year on the global impact of sanitation, its work is being augmented by entrepreneurial efforts supported by the Ashoka-Lemelson partnership. "Several Ashoka-Lemelson Fellows are working diligently to support the U.N.'s goal-to provide an additional 1.6 billion people with sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015," said Julia Novy-Hildesley, Executive Director of the Lemelson Foundation: Isaac Durojaiye (Nigeria) and his company -- Dignified Mobile Toilets (DMT) -- has provided thousands of clean, low-cost public toilets in Nigeria while providing jobs and empowering women and young men who struggle with high rates of unemployment. Sameh Ghali (Egypt) has tested and implemented specialized, low-cost village sewage systems and reached 30,000 villagers by forging community-based networks. And, after the sewage system water is cleaned, it is used for irrigation. Agus Gunarto (Indonesia) has developed an inexpensive, community-managed water treatment system that serves both urban and rural populations. Byproducts from the water treatment process are recycled to create income through fertilizer sales and catfish breeding. Juan Carlos Calizaya Luna (Peru) installs innovative, environmentally-friendly sanitation systems at the household and community levels; he also encourages engineers and politicians to reconsider traditional methods of water conservation and waste management. Jack Sim (Singapore) is the founder of the World Toilet Organization that promotes and develops programs for clean, environmentally-sound sanitation systems. Sim has established events such as World Toilet Day (November 19) and the annual World Toilet Summit-bringing together participants from over 40 countries. The $4 million Ashoka-Lemelson Fellowship Program was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006. To date 34 Fellows-striving to identify solutions to pressing global concerns-have been identified, reaching one-third of the organizations' goal to build a critical mass of 100 inventor- entrepreneurs by 2010. About the Lemelson Foundation The Lemelson Foundation uses its resources to inspire, encourage and recognize inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs to support invention-led economic, social and environmentally sustainable development. It has donated or committed more than $140 million in support of its mission in the U.S. and developing countries. For more information, please visit lemelson.org/. About Ashoka Founded in 1980, Ashoka is the world's working community of more than 2,000 leading social entrepreneurs. It champions the most important new social change ideas and supports the entrepreneurs behind them by helping them get started, grow, succeed, and collaborate. As Ashoka expands its capability to integrate and connect entrepreneurs around the world, it builds an entrepreneurial infrastructure that is supporting the fast-growing needs of the citizen sector. Ashoka's vision is to create change today, for an "everyone a changemaker"(TM) society to become the reality of tomorrow. For more information, visit http://www.ashoka.org/. Source: Press release/PRNewswire




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