(SAN JOSE, Calif. and LIBERTAD, Misamis Oriental) Sept. 15, 2011 – CORA ZAYAS SAYRE, was today named as a laureate of The Tech Awards 2011, one of 15 global innovators recognized each year for applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change. The Tech Awards, a signature program of The Tech Museum, and presented by Applied Materials, Inc., selected CORA ZAYAS SAYRE from among hundreds of nominations representing 54 countries.
Cora and her outfit the Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development (WAND) Foundation has succeeded in developing cheap, robust and aesthetic composting toilets applicable in most areas (upland, coastal, slums) using local materials which prevents water contamination and the spread of disease while producing valuable fertilizer from human waste. This has vast potential in solving sanitation problems for 2.1 billion people worldwide at the bottom of the economic pyramid including millions in the Philippines who do not have access to toilets.
The Tech Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity is one of the premier annual humanitarian awards programs in the world, recognizing technical solutions that benefit humanity and address the most critical issues facing our planet and its people. The awards program honors 15 scientists and innovators annually alongside the recipient of the Global Humanitarian Award. Laureates are selected by a prestigious panel of international judges organized by the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University, and made up of Santa Clara University faculty as well as leaders from educational and research institutions, industry and the public sector around the world.
A New part of this project is enjoining recipients of the ecosan toilets to do vegetable gardening in their backyards. This was done successfully in Libertad Municipality with 120 beneficiaries participating. The vegetables they harvested provided them with nutritious food within their reach and very cheap since they grow this themselves. The vegetables are okra, bitter gourd, moringa oleifera, tomato, radish, among others. Excess production of the vegetables they market to their neighbors. We provided them with seeds and organic fertilizer as well as technical assistance. As a means to engage them we also implemented a vegetable gardening contest. Prizes we awarded include kitchen utensils, school supplies for the children and small animals such as pigs and goats.
This time and after identifying the beneficiaries for the project last January 2011, we are starting to build the first ecosan toilets. The toilet pictured here is a single-vault dry toilet. A recycled 200-liter drum cut in half is used to store human waste. The materials used in our ecosan toilets are mostly locally-procured making our toilet cheap, robust and easy to construct. We aim by April to be able to make and distribute 75 toilets to 75 families.
A companion to the ecosan toilet is rainwater harvesting and we distribute recycled drums to the beneficiaries so they can use to harvest and store water.
Next step that we will do is to encourage our beneficiaries to undergo vegetable gardening in small plots around their homes and fields.
After successfully getting a permanent spot in the Global Giving last December 2010 Challenge, personnel of the WAND Foundation, led by Mr. Elmer V. Sayre is conducting preliminary site and beneficiary selection during this month to make sure that our beneficiaries belong to the bottom poor. We intend to focus our support for this project to peri-urban barrios in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte and in areas where water is scarce and open defecation, water-borne disease and malnutrition is prevalent. This innovation will be a “first” in Dipolog City and in the Zamboanga Peninsula in general.
Aside from site reconnaissance we are also doing small group discussions to inform the local residents about dry toilets and recycling of human waste for agriculture in order to close the loop between food production and sanitation. During the site visits, local residents and school teachers are very eager to participate in the project.
Some school teachers said that our approach may be a solution to the problems faced by their students who are oftentimes malnourished and infested with roundworms.
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