Better sanitation means power in India

Tulane And Changemaker Institute Alum, Anoop Jain's Social Venture, Humanure Power, Which Builds Community Blocks Of Toilets Accessible To 650 Million Indians Without Access To A Toilet.  Methan Gas Is Used To Generate Electricity That Charges Batteries, Which Are Rented To 400 Million Indians Living Without Electricity, Creating A Sustainable Model
The Humanure Power team’s first facility opens in July in the Supaul district of Bihar, India, where toilets for men and for women provide power to the community. (Photo from Anoop Jain)

Humanure Power, the brainchild of Tulane University alumnus Anoop Jain, earned him $100,000 and the 2014 Waislitz Global Citizen Award on Sept. 27 at the third annual Global Citizen Festival in New York.

The award recognizes the efforts of Jain and his small staff to build public toilet facilities in rural communities in India. Humanure Power turns methane gas from human waste into power for local communities.

The electricity they generate is then used to power a water filtration system that allows the team to distribute clean water at competitive, market rate prices.

“This award further validates the work we’ve been doing, which we couldn’t do without our networks of supporters and funders,” said Jain, 27, who earned a Master of Public Health in 2013.

Jain and his team will be meeting with industry leaders on how best to use the award money, with the goal of opening three more toilet facilities in India.

Opening the Humanure Power facility more than two months ago posed some unique challenges, he said.

Residents frequented the facility — which includes eight toilets each for men and women — early in the morning and late in the evening, when it was too dark to walk safely to the toilets.

The Humanure Power team promptly set up a network of lights elevated on bamboo poles, effectively lighting the streets in the area.

“One hundred and fifty people used the facility the next day,” Jain said.

While at Tulane University, Jain participated in the Changemaker Institute, an accelerator program for student-led social ventures facilitated by the Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT).

Members of the Humanure team include Emma Jasinski, a 2014 graduate of the Tulane School of Architecture; Neha Dubli, a Master of Public Health student at Tulane, and public health grads Dani DiPietro (2014) and Benjamin Mauro (2013).

Originally posted by The New Wave. Written by Madeline R. Vann, a freelance writer living in Virginia who received a Master of Public Health in 1998 from Tulane University.