25 Mar :The founder of Sulabh Sanitation Movement, established in 1970 to change social attitudes toward traditional unsanitary practices in the country, has been named the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate.Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, known for his wide ranging work in the sanitation field to improve public health, advance social progress and improve human rights, will formally receive the award at a Royal Award Ceremony and Banquet during the World Water Week in Stockholm this August.
"The results of Dr Pathak’s endeavours constitute one of the most amazing examples of how one person can impact the well being of millions," noted the Stockholm Water Prize nominating committee in its citation.
"Dr Pathak’s leadership in attaining these remarkable socio-environmental results has been universally recognised, and not least by those who have secured the freedom of human dignity as a consequence of his efforts," it said in a release through Asianet.
The Stockholm Water Prize is one of the world’s most prestigious prize and is given for outstanding achievement in water-related activities. The annual prize includes a USD 150,000 award and a crystal sculpture.
Serving as a model for NGOs and public health initiatives around the world, Dr Pathak has worked in fields of sanitation technology, social enterprise and healthcare education for millions of people in India.
The social reformer, who triggered the revolution against ‘sanitation crisis’, has been the main force behind changing social attitudes towards traditional unsanitary latrine practices in slums, rural villages and dense urban districts, and developed cost-effective toilet systems that have improved daily life and health for millions of people.
He has also waged an ongoing campaign to abolish the traditional practice of manual "scavenging" of human waste from bucket latrines in the country while championing the rights of former scavengers and their families to economic opportunity, decent standards of living and social dignity.