Map of Mozambique showing the Niassa Province
The Goldman Environmental Prize: Feliciano dos Santos
Because grassroots environmental heroes too often go unrecognized, San Francisco philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman created the Goldman Environmental Prize in 1990. It honors individuals from six inhabited continental regions – Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America – for “sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment.” Each winner receives $150,000, the largest award in the world for grassroots environmentalists, to continue their work.
In April 2008, Feliciano dos Santos received the Goldman Prize for his work in bringing sustainable sanitation to rural Mozambique. The Goldman website states that, “using traditional music, grassroots outreach and innovative technology to bring sanitation to the most remote corners of Mozambique, Santos empowered villagers to participate in sustainable development and rise up from poverty.” The site also features a video profile of dos Santos, video of his acceptance speech, and photo gallery of Santos at work.
National Geographic News: Feliciano Dos Santos Award Goldman Prize
National Geographic reporter Tom Pryor reports on Santos receiving the Goldman Prize, noting that previous winners include Nigerian novelist Ken –Saro-Wiwa and Kenyan activist and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathi. The story also includes a brief Q&A with dos Santos.
The New York Times: Send in the Latrines
Written by Rose George, author of "The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters," this Op/Ed piece looks at the need for sanitation in Burma and the rest of the underdeveloped world.
Learn more about Santos’ band, Massukos, who focus their artistic energy in the delivery of life-saving messages about hygiene, sanitation and HIV/AIDS throughout rural Africa.
Founded by Santos, Estamos is the community-based action organization working to bring latrines to rural villages and to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS through education. The site features updates on the many activities of the organization.
Citing statistics like 80% of disease in the developing world being due to poor sanitation, Poo Productions attempts to use music and film as tools in the fight against poor sanitation and a lack of clean water in Africa. The site offers CDs by Massukos and other artists such as Empty Boat, and video of the company’s first film, “The Mozambique Poo Tour.”
WaterAid is an international charity whose mission is to overcome poverty by enabling the world's poorest people to gain access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. In a speech before the UN's 16th Commission for Sustainable Developmen, WaterAid Policy Director Margaret Batty urged the United Nations to “talk sh*t.” Read a transcript of the speech on the WaterAid site.
EcoSan, or Ecological Sanitation, promotes alternative solutions to centralized sewerage systems that are often times overlooked by leaders in developing nations. In many cases, these systems may prove to be more effective in dealing with both the long- and short-term concerns of impoverished communities.
The International Year of Sanitation
According to the United Nations, 2008 is the International Year of Sanitation. They say that 2.6 billion people do not have clean and safe facilities to perform their bodily functions, which constitutes an affront to human dignity on a massive scale.
Santos worked with Hesperian to create "A Community Guide to Environmental Health," a publication that shows how other communities can build their family wells and eco-latrines.
From Our Files
South Africa: The Play Pump
As part of the Frontline/WORLD Rough Cut series, Africa correspondent Amy Costello reports on a unique entrepreneurial strategy to solve South Africa’s water woes.