Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grand Challenges Explorations Winner

For Immediate Release

Elmer V. Sayre, Ph.D.
Principal Researcher/In-house Adviser, WAND Foundation
Mobile: 63-9218041573

The Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation Receives US$100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for Ground-Breaking Research in Global Health and Development

Libertad, Misamis Oriental, Philippines   Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation  announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Dr. Elmer V. Sayre will pursue an innovative global health and development research project, titled   “Ecological Sanitation for the Base of the Pyramid”.

Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) funds scientists and researchers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.  Dr. Elmer V. Sayre’s project is one of over 85 Grand Challenges Explorations Round 6 grants announced today by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

“GCE winners are expanding the pipeline of ideas for serious global health and development challenges where creative thinking is most urgently needed.  These grants are meant to spur on new discoveries that could ultimately save millions of lives,” said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

To receive funding, Dr. Elmer V. Sayre and other Grand Challenges Explorations Round 6 winners demonstrated in a two-page online application a bold idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas: polio eradication, HIV, sanitation and family health technologies, and mobile health.  Applications for the current open round, Grand Challenges Explorations Round 7, will be accepted through May 19, 2011. 

Dr. Elmer V. Sayre will explore the viability of low-cost dry toilets and using human waste in small-scale agri-silviculture by conducting crop trials, use of vermi-composting and odor minimization and mainstreaming ecological sanitation in local financing. Dr. Sayre’s ecological sanitation initiative is aimed at helping the base of the pyramid (BoP) in terms of;

a) making available much needed fertilizer for the plants thereby improving nutrition, income and biodiversity, 

b) preventing the spread of diseases from open defecation, and, 

c. preventing contamination of the water table and water sources.  

Dr. Sayre’s approach is to   custom-design dry toilets appropriate in most conditions eg. coastal, urban slums, uplands, marshy areas, river settlements and dry toilets for persons with disabilities, toddlers and during emergencies such as flooding.

About Grand Challenges Explorations

Grand Challenges Explorations is a US$100 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Launched in 2008, Grand Challenge Explorations grants have already been awarded to nearly 500 researchers from over 40 countries.  The grant program is open to anyone from any discipline and from any organization.  The initiative uses an agile, accelerated grant-making process with short two-page online applications and no preliminary data required.  Initial grants of $100,000 are awarded two times a year. Successful projects have the opportunity to receive a follow-on grant of up to US$1 million.

The Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation provide social development initiatives with emphasis on improvement of the environment and agricultural sector, rural entrepreneurship, ecological sanitation and peace-building. The WAND Foundation has grown out of a pool of community development workers in Northern Mindanao truly concerned about the direct link between severe poverty, poor health and sanitation, local resource mismanagement and the absence of lasting peace.   The vision of the WAND is “empowering local communities so that they are able to live dignified lives and contribute fully to the life of the community.” Our website is 

“Service to Humanity is the Best Work of All”

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