An African charity that improved access to drinking water and sanitation and reduced the chance of cholera deaths in a village in Togo was on Monday awarded the Kyoto World Water Grand Prize.
The award is granted every three years for outstanding grassroots projects to solve water issues in developing nations.
Judges said the project by the Christian Charity for People in Distress (CCPD), which helped 290 villagers, had cut the risk of disease and death in a community prone to cholera outbreaks.
“The organization provided a serious and coherent project, with proper monitoring, and demonstrated above all an excellent efficiency,” said Jean Lapègue, a board member of the World Water Council, which adjudicates the award.
Judges also praised the project’s use of ecological toilets as an alternative to pit latrines, Lapègue told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.
More than 60 percent of Togo’s population lives below the poverty line, and many people lack reliable access to drinking water, education, health and electricity, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
In addition, the UNDP said Togo’s natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce, particularly clean water.
The CCPD will receive the award and the 2 million Japanese yen prize ($19,000) at a ceremony next month in the Brazilian capital Brasilia during the eighth World Water Forum.
Lapègue said the prize should help CCPD to extend its project in rural areas of Togo — a former French colony of 8 million people in West Africa — and would help connect the charity to other actors in the water and sanitation sector.
The award is co-organized by the Japan Water Forum and the World Water Council. CCPD is the second African charity to win — Uganda's Katosi Women Development Trust won in 2012.