Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Gates Foundation contest to develop toilets for countries without access to modern sanitation
High-tech toilets can wait
While Seattleites are loitering around the $370 million high-tech toilets at the Gates Foundation headquarters this week, 61 million children in the Third World will not be preparing to go to school this fall [“From Bill Gates, a toilet challenge spills forth,” seattletimes.com. Aug. 15].
For a mere $125 million in the Global Partnership for Education (or GPE) — a rounding error in our defense budget — the U.S. government could enroll 25 million children in primary schools and train 600,000 new teachers in the Third World by 2014. This is a much more immediate and cost-effective means to teach millions to read and to use math skills in their daily lives. This is an investment that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. government must support.
Yes, sanitation is important, but let’s build the schools in the Third World and stuff them with students and teachers now! The high-tech toilets could wait.
— Terrence Dai, Seattle