Piscataway, N.J — American Standard Brands announced its support of Team USA in the WorldSkills Foundation’s (WSF) inaugural Water Innovation Challenge that begins in Singapore today. This event brings together international teams of young plumbers and engineers to participate in a series of hands-on design challenges aimed at improving the quality of life, health, hygiene and sanitation in developing countries.
During three days of intense competition, the teams will develop a series of real and innovative solutions for emerging water and sanitation problems in two targeted countries: Nepal and Bangladesh. The goal of the competition is to raise awareness of the global crisis caused by the lack of clean water and safe sanitation facilities worldwide. The competition ― being held June 3 – 5, 2014 at the Institute of Technical Education ― coincides with Singapore International Water Week (SIWW).
Team USA is led by Douglas Nelson of the Milwaukee School of Engineering. The Team will use the SaTo hygienic toilet pan, invented by American Standard engineers, as the basis for the sanitation solutions they will craft at the competition. The SaTo (pronounced SAH-toh, derived from Safe Toilet) sanitary toilet pan, unveiled in early 2013, was designed to work without sewer infrastructure in rural communities of Bangladesh. The SaTo uses ingeniously simple mechanical and water seals to close off pit latrines from the open air, thereby reducing the transmission of disease and odor.
At the Water Innovation Challenge, Team USA will specifically use the SaTo as a key component in a composting toilet system that will produce fertilizer for crops. The team is also responsible for creating installation instructions without using words or numbers, ensuring that their toilet system can be installed by anyone, regardless of their language or literacy.
“It is an inspiration to us all to see these young plumbers and engineers put their skills to use developing sanitation systems that can save lives and improve quality of life around the world,” said Jay Gould, president and CEO of American Standard Brands. “We are proud to support Team USA in the Water Innovation Challenge and look forward to seeing the design advancements they create during this competition.”
Solutions created during the Water Innovation Challenge will be implemented by the winning team in the WSF Sanitation Studio program, which was created by a partnership between Australian NGO Healthabitat and WSF. Also, design toolkits created by all teams will be made available for other NGOs to use in their own plumbing and sanitation work around the globe.
Worldwide, 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. Every day, 2,000 children die from diseases caused by this lack of proper sanitation. The United Nations has set a 2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by half the proportion of people who lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Coinciding with creation of the SaTo, American Standard launched its Flush for Good campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the global sanitation crisis and creating innovative solutions to help solve it. As part of that program, the Company donated over 530,000 SaTo sanitary toilet pans in 2013 to help reduce the transmission of disease and provide safer sanitation facilities in Bangladesh, impacting the lives of an estimated 2.5 million people. Distribution throughout Bangladesh in 2013 and 2014 has been aided through various NGOs including BRAC, WaterAid, Save the Children and Water for People.
Last year, American Standard announced an official Commitment to Action with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), pledging to improve sanitation and quality of life for three million people around the world from 2014 through 2017. Including the 2.5 million residents of Bangladesh receiving safer sanitation assistance during 2013 and 2014, American Standard will reach an estimated 5.5 million people by 2017.
For more information on this announcement, visit www.americanstandard.com