Bindeshwar Pathak Named 2009 Stockholm Prize Winner
As the founder of the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, Pathak is known for his wide ranging work in the sanitation field to improve public health, advance social progress, and improve human rights in India and other countries. His accomplishments span the fields of sanitation technology, social enterprise, and healthcare education for millions of people in his native country, serving as a model for nongovernmental agencies and public health initiatives around the world.
Since he established the Sulabh Sanitation Movement in 1970, Pathak has worked to change social attitudes toward 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 India while championing the rights of former scavengers and their families to economic opportunity, decent standards of living, and social dignity.
"The results of Dr. Pathak's endeavors 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 recognized and not least by those who have secured the freedom of human dignity as a consequence of his efforts."
Pathak will formally receive the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize at a Royal Award Ceremony and Banquet during the World Water Week in Stockholm in August.
First presented in 1991, The Stockholm Water Prize is the world's most prestigious prize for outstanding achievement in water-related activities. The annual prize includes a US$150,000 award and a crystal sculpture.
An international nominating committee appointed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is responsible for reviewing the nominations and proposing a candidate. The founders of the prize are Swedish and international companies in co-operation with the city of Stockholm. The prize program is administered by the Stockholm International Water Institute.
The patron of the Stockholm Water Prize is H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.