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Bill Gates Unveils Toilet That Transforms Waste Into Fertilizer, Doesn’t Require Water or Sewers

For Bill Gates, toilets are serious business. The billionaire philanthropist kicked off the Reinvented Toilet Expo in China and unveiled a new toilet that does not require water or sewers, and uses chemicals to turn human waste into fertilizer, Reuters reported.

“We are all here for one reason: because more than half the world’s population doesn’t have the safe sanitation they need to lead healthy and productive lives,” Gates said in a speech on Tuesday in Beijing.

Gates tweeted a video Monday that described his and his foundation’s mission to improve sanitation for countries that do not have or cannot afford to build the sewer infrastructure to remove waste.

“You might guess what’s in this beaker—and you’d be right. Human feces. This small amount of feces could contain as many as 200 trillion rotavirus cells, 20 billion Shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs,” the Microsoft co-founder said.

He kept the jar on the podium for nearly 10 minutes before removing it, the Associated Press reported.

Poor sanitation kills nearly 500,000 children under the age of five annually and costs an estimated $223 billion a year in the form of higher health costs and lost productivity and wages, Reuters reported, citing the information from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The untreated sewage can also negatively impact the surrounding environment.

“Some of the untreated human waste is in unlined pit latrines that contaminates groundwater around people’s homes,” Gates said in his speech. “Some is collected manually, or by trucks, and is dumped into nearby fields or bodies of water. And some is collected in sewers but never gets treated. The point is that we are far from the goal the world set in 2015 of everyone using a safely-managed toilet.”

The aim of the expo is to “launch a new category of innovative, decentralized sanitation solutions that will benefit millions of people worldwide,” Gates said.

Several of these “reinvented toilets” are currently being tested in Durban, South Africa.

“Durban is a good place to run these tests because the city is growing fast and many people there don’t have a modern sanitation, which means that, even if they have access to a toilet, the waste can get into the environment and make people sick,” Gates said in the video.

“A typical toilet needs water, but many of the new approaches don’t require any water at all, some of them don’t need electricity either, others run on solar power,” he added. “All of them remove the pathogens from the waste and, most importantly, they don’t have to be connected to the sewer system.”

The next step for the project is to pitch the concept to manufacturers, Gates told Reuters. He estimated that the market for the toilets will be more than $6 billion by 2030.

Source: ecowatch

Why Hospitals Want to Invest in Affordable Housing

Tech giants—including Microsoft, Facebook, and Google—have recently pledged billions of dollars to solve the affordable housing crisis, creating large loan pools for developers in a bid to help solve a problem exacerbated by their rapid growth.

Last week, a different coalition of corporate and community leaders made a smaller but no less significant pledge. A group of 14 of the nation’s largest hospital and health systems pledged to invest $700 million over five years on place-based investing in their communities. The investment focuses mostly on affordable housing, but also addresses access to health foods, entrepreneurship among women and minorities, and expanding childcare access.

Organized by the Healthcare Anchor Network (HAN), the new initiative seeks to inspire more health care systems—already important anchor institutions in nearly every community across the country—to leverage their employment, purchasing, and investment power to improve the health of their community.

By attacking the racial disparities in communities across the country—as well as the other root problems that influence health outcomes—with a holistic, long-term approach, the HAN hopes to ultimately improve local economies and create a healthier population that requires less emergency and acute care.

“We’re trying to think about this as a strategy,” says David Zuckerman, director of the Healthcare Anchor Network. “It isn’t a one-time check to the community. This should be one of the ways health systems go back to improving health and wellbeing for the entire community.”

The 14 health care organizations—including Kaiser Permanente, Boston Medical Center, and Trinity Health—carry considerable economic heft in their cities and communities, representing the largest private sector employers in California, New York, Massachusetts, Utah, and Wisconsin. Combined, the participating organizations in the HAN employ 1.5 million people and have more than $100 billion in investment assets.

Members of the HAN will invest a certain percentage of their investment portfolios in their communities over the next five years. Roughly half of the participating members have already begun investing. In Richmond, Virginia, the Bon Scours Mercy Health system has invested in the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, which focuses in part on transforming vacant property into more productive uses.

Zuckerman argues that investments in housing aren’t just good for the community; they’re good for a health care system’s bottom line, too. While measuring a direct return on investment can be tricky, he says the goals of the wider campaign—keeping people in stable housing, increasing access to healthy food, creating neighborhoods where it’s safe to walk—lead to healthier lives and less emergency room visits and chronic diseases, such as diabetes.

Studies have shown that social, economic, environmental, and behaviorial factors—non-genetic influences called the social determinants of health—account for up to 80 percent of the health outcomes a community experiences.

“Housing is a tremendous issue across the country, and the federal government has simply pulled back from investing in housing,” Zuckerman says.

Many hospitals and health systems are moving toward treating patients with less resources to reduce the burden of expensive chronic treatment, which can make a financial difference for individuals.

“It’s a long-run game, not a short-term solution,” he says.

He also admits that health care systems historically haven’t always been the best partners with disinvested communities, but that has changed in recent years. The launch of this network is the first time there’s been a conversation in the industry about leveraging health care as a significant engine of economic revitalization.

The model already works. Urbanists and writers such as Richard Florida and James and Deborah Fallows have long spoken about how anchor institutions—such as universities, and large corporations—can help build community and revitalize local economies. Zuckerman hopes this become an industry standard for health care.

“Can we flip from applying Band-Aids to thinking about all the resources we have and leveraging them differently?” he says.

Source: curbed


More UAE Rain Expected in the Coming Days

UAE residents can expect more rainfall in the coming days, as the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) continues its cloud seeding operations, with five having already taken place in the past 48 hours alone.

In 2019 so far, the centre has carried out 181 cloud seeding operations. It uses aircrafts to shoot salt flares into clouds that have rain droplets to enhance the chance of rainfall, which it aims to increase by 15-25 percent, the head of cloud seeding Khalid Al Obeidii told Khaleej Times.

Sunday saw heavy rainfall and storms take place across the UAE, with major tourism attractions such as The Dubai Mall experiencing flooding and temporary store closures.

Videos and images were widely distributed on social media showing people wading through stores on the mall’s ground floor, in the Fashion Avenue area. The country also experienced major traffic jams and waterlogged roads.

Some flights were also delayed at Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports but resumed early on Monday morning.

However the weather bureau has warned UAE residents to remain cautious as more heavy winds, rainfall and storms are expected.

Last year, NCM introduced a ground generator on top of mountains in the Hafeet and Fujairah areas to shoot salt flares up to the clouds to increase the chances of rain.

Source: arabianbusiness

Osinbajo Will Come Out Stronger From Travails, says Cleric

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will come out stronger from the political challenges he is facing at the presidency, says the Assistant Provincial Pastor for Youth, North Province 6 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Tunde Benjamins-Laniyi.

The pastor in charge of The Throneroom Parish noted challenges as part of life with no exemption, adding that one’s faith in God would make him an overcomer.

In an interview with journalists after a special church service which had in attendance the General Overseer of RCCG, Enoch Adeboye, yesterday in Abuja, the cleric described Osinbajo as a man of so much faith in God.

His words, “Everybody faces challenges; they are part of human life. Everything works together for good for them that love God. There is time for everything; time to cry and time to laugh. Nobody, no matter how highly-placed, is exempted from challenges. But the beauty of it is that at the end of the day, because of your faith in God, you will be able to overcome. So the vice president will overcome the challenges and will come out stronger.”

He decried the high level of nepotism and tribalism in the country, calling on Nigerians to demonstrate love that transcends all barriers and ethnic sentiment.

Earlier, wife of the General Overseer, Mrs. Folu Adeboye, told the congregation not to lose their peace irrespective of what is happening in their lives.

She assured the church that once God was not absent in their lives, they would emerge victorious.

In his sermon, Adeboye told the worshippers that any man who had attempted or is attempting to throw them in the Lions den would be destroyed.

Source: Guardianng

Mixed Developments Yield More Than Single-Use Properties

In its latest NMA Mixed Use Developments Report 2019, they say giving tenants more services within a single property makes the investments more attractive compared to single-use properties where one has to leave the premises to seek services from numerous locations across town.

“Mixed-Use Developments (MUDs) recorded average rental yields of 7.3 percent in 2019, being 0.4 percent points higher than the respective single-use retail, commercial office and residential themes average of 6.9 percent, attributed to increasing popularity of the mixed-use concept.

MUDs are convenient as they incorporate working, shopping and living spaces. Such investments attract the highest returns within Kilimani and Limuru Road where rental yields are 9.1 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively above the market average of 7.3 percent.”

The report added that real-estate investors should also incorporate differentiated concepts such as serviced apartments and shared offices that have emerged as new investments that provide attractive returns of 6.4 percent and 13.5 percent respectively.

MUDs offer users secure spaces for homes, shopping as well as working spaces which help beat turnaround times solely blamed on delays caused by Nairobi’s chaotic traffic, it observed.

Largely affluent Kenyan families and expatriates have created a niche market for MUDs that provide round-the-clock security allowing late night shopping, partying and flexible working hours.

Two Rivers, Ciata, Garden City, Westgate, Junction and Sarit Central are among notable MUDs that offer visitors access to numerous facilities from banks, chemists, groceries, eateries, retail shops as well as medical centres among others.

Nairobi is also experiencing a new phenomenon with multinational firms preferring to hire readily furnished offices with various branches across Nairobi that enable workers to work from different locations.


60 Homeless Veterans Will Get Affordable Housing In New Complex

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) — Construction begins this week on a 60-unit complex that will provide permanent supportive housing for veterans experiencing homelessness. The Veterans Renaissance Apartments at Fitzsimons will be located at East 17th Avenue and Peoria Street in Aurora, on the Anschutz Campus.

“We are honored to be able to provide 60 additional units of supportive affordable housing for our Veterans in Colorado,” said John Parvensky, President/CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “For those who have served our country, it is shameful that this country doesn’t always provide them stable housing options when they return.

The four-story building will feature 56 one-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units, all with full kitchens and bathrooms.

“The high ceilings and large windows will create a sense of openness and light for the residents,” officials stated. “On-site amenities will include property and case management, laundry facilities, TV room, computer lab, community kitchen, medical exam room, and community space designed with a focus on community and natural light. Outdoor amenities include onsite parking, enclosed bike parking, an outdoor gathering space with grills, a dog run, a nature path, and an outdoor exercise area.”

The project is set for completion by December 2020.

Source: denver

Nigerian Engineers Need Self-Cleansing To Compete Globally — Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged different associations in construction industry across Nigeria to commence self-cleansing in order to compete favourably with their counterparts around the globe.

He disclosed that the role of engineers in construction cannot be overemphasised in human daily life as virtually all other sectors rely on the construction industry to provide and maintain their accommodation, plants and infrastructure.

Speaking at the 41 Annual Conference /AGM 2019 of the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos state Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Olujimi Hotonu, said that with the application of digital technologies, the role of construction industry is bound to become more important due to various mega trends.

“We always require the service of construction engineers to assist in area of project conception, implementation and management. Thus, it is important for us to galvanize and integrate skilled professionals, including project engineers to supervise and ensure effective management and timely completion of projects.

Speaking on “Integrating Nigerian Engineers into National Development”, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos state government believes in inclusive governance and patronage of local market as it helps in capacity building of workforce, reducing capital flight and brain drain. According to him, “We have strong belief in the professional competency of our engineers and we trust that they can hold their ground among their peers outside the country.

However, there is need for them to be encouraged through inclusion and involvement in design and execution of major projects that cut across all the aspects of engineering. On his part, the President of Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria, Engr. Charles Akindayomi, urged members of the association to embrace merger and acquisition which is the new global trend. He however, identified lack of widespread access to modern engineering technologies as one of the challenges that can be tackled through merger, insisting that “The stability of our economy depends on how well we sustain the country’s infrastructure development.

To ensure government patronage, we must ensure that the design and construction of our national assets are carried out in line with international best practices and standard that is compatible with our culture and environment.” The Keynote Speaker, Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi, tasked government to address factors that limit Nigerian engineers from competing with their global counterparts such as high cost of funds and capital in establishing engineering practice and pioneering of projects generally. “Government should consider establishing infrastructure bank or credit agency that will lend at concessional rate to empower local engineering firms as it’s being practised globally”, Rafindadi noted.

Source: Vanguardng

Why Housing Professionals Must Unite to Develop Nigeria Housing Industry

To see the kind of progress needed in reducing Nigeria’s housing deficit of at least 17 million, housing sector professionals must imbibe the spirit of unity and be on the same page in terms of policies, ideas, innovative projects and sustainability drives.

Stakeholders have continuously bemoaned the increasingly low level of collaboration among each other in the Nigerian housing sector.

The current approach to professional practice in the housing development, which is characterised by each professional working largely within the narrow confines of their profession has negative consequences on the development of the real estate industry in Nigeria. And some of the consequences include substandard development, increased cost of developments, lack of financial intelligence, and lack of data collation, lack of finance pool or funding, difficulty in doing business, more self-borne risks, limited learning and many more.

The lack of adequate cross sector collaboration among and between stakeholders remain a major threat to the realisation of affordable housing goals. The kind of projects and initiatives essential to scale up housing supply in Nigeria requires a lot of collaboration and synergy among stakeholders.

With over 17 million housing deficit, and the need to build at least 1 million homes annually, there is need for active collaboration networks to achieve this goal.

Like some stakeholders attest to, many developers and financers are working in silos, and this shouldn’t be so.

Even alternative methods of financing housing development like cooperatives are being dealt a huge blow because of lack of collaboration.

Cooperatives allow for resources to be pulled together from various members who have come into the unit for the purposes of realising their objective, which may be homeownership.

Attempts have been made over the years to raise money through conventional means, but no suitable one could be found.

Through the cooperative option, members are able to increase wealth and create long-term lending options through their funds at very low interest rate.

Despite efforts by investors in the private sector, the government should also increase investment in housing, especially in providing primary infrastructure.

Against the background that primary infrastructure forms about 30 per cent of construction cost in housing estates, the road to housing availability and affordability cannot be achieved without the support of the government and collaboration of stakeholders.

The current economic situation, the impact of technology and global professional trend makes it very important for stakeholders to imbibe the spirit of collaboration.

There is an urgent need for everyone in the built-environment sector to come together from the past, see and embrace the future. In order to hone and sharpen skills in various areas of the sector, stakeholders must work together as a unit of collaborators, exchanging ideas and comparing notes.

The output of a dedicated team effort will always be better than the work of any one professional no matter how gifted the person is. If stakeholders do not catch and align with themselves and with professional trends, they can be left behind. There is a global competition going on, and Nigeria’s built sector must play along.

These facts were excessively mentioned at the 13th Abuja International Show by many speakers, and one of the key resolutions from the show was the need for wider sector collaboration to happen in order to collectively mitigate risks and increase financing options for Nigeria and its built sector which has potentials to be more that what it currently is.

Interested stakeholders believe that ongoing collaborations including the ones involving the NMRC, Family Homes Funds, MBAN, CBN, Ministry of Works and Housing and others need not only be sustained but increased to take in more.


Why Nigeria is Our Key Market for Affordable Housing—Shelter Afrique

…partnership pact with FHF to deliver homes for low-income earners

For its large-size population, high housing deficit profile and low homeownership level estimated at 200 million, 17 million units and 25 percent respectively, Nigeria’s housing market is,clearly, a low hanging fruit for savvy and strategic investors.

This explains the investment interests shown by both continental and international institutions like Shelter Afrique which sees Nigeria as a key market for them, especially in affordable housing delivery.

Shelter Afrique is a partnership of 44 African governments plus the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Africa Reinsurance Company whose aim is to provide funding solutions for new affordable housing projects.

To fully leverage opportunities in the Nigerian market, the continental body recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nigeria’s Family Home Funds (FHF)—a social housing initiative promoted by the federal government as part of its social intervention programmes.

The funds, which focuses on affordable homes for low-income earning Nigerians, has an initial shareholding by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority,.

It hopes that, by 2023,it shall have invested up to N1.3trn (US$3bn) in the development of 500,000 homes for low-income earners and, in the process, create up to 1.5 million jobs and, through that too, enable homeownership.

At the agreement signing event which was prformed in Abuja by the chief executives of Shelter Afrique and FHF, Andrew Chimphondah and Femi Adewole respectively, the continental body offered insights into its affordable housing delivering strategy.

It pointed out that Nigeria is its biggest market. “We are very grateful to get into a partnership with Family Homes Funds and we are delighted to sign the MOU. One of the things we realised when we re-strategized over the last few years is that beyond financing affordable housing, one of our strengths was leveraging our partnerships and networks,” said Chimpondah.

He explained that they were happy to be signing the agreement, not only because it fits into their strategic direction, but also because Nigeria is a key market and Family Homes Funds has a better understanding of the local market.

“The idea is to co-fund specific deals, share market knowledge and operate in line with best practices. In the end, our core vision is to develop decent and affordable homes for all Nigerians and if we work together to solve the affordability challenge on the demand and supply side, we will be able to achieve a lot,” he hoped.

Earlier, Adewole had described the MoU signing as “a small but momentous occasion,” explaining that Shelter Afrique has been a housing financing organisation for more than 35 years with significant experience across very many countries while FHF is barely a couple of years old.

“This partnership and relationship birthed out of this MOU provide the beginning of what I hope and expect; we will work assiduously for it to be a very successful relationship and we will ensure that we create homes for Nigerians who need them most,” he assured.

The signing of the MOU, according to him, is the first in what would be a weekly series of meetings held by a committee with members drawn from both organisations.

The meetings are expected to result in specific co-funded affordable housing projects which have been identified as low hanging fruit projects that are affordable and below N9million per home. Both firms have committed to co-financing, at least, one project before the end of 2019.

Source: businessdayng

Lekki Residents, Stakeholders Fault AMCON on Victory Park Estate

Residents and stakeholders in Lekki estates have faulted the action of Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) regarding the handling of the receivership case involving Victory Park Estate on the Lekki Peninsula, Lagos.

The residents, under the aegis of Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA) which embodies all estates, communities and facilities from 1004 Estate up to Epe, contended that AMCOM could not be judge and prosecutor in its own case, more so as it violates court orders at will.

LERSA’s position was contained in a statement issued by the association and made available to BusinessDay in Lagos last week. It was signed by James Emadoye, the president of LERSA.

Emadoye, who led a delegation of LERSA members to Victory Park Estate on a fact finding mission, wondered why AMCON, a creation of government, would not obey court ruling and decided to move to the estate to harass innocent citizens.

He recalled that the harassment started just few days after a Lagos State High Court presided over by Honourable Justice Jos declared unconstitutional the provisions of Section 34(6) of the AMCON Amendment Act No. 2.

Emadoye called for immediate intervention of Lagos State and federal governments, stating that the country’s developmental dreams would continue to be a mirage until “the big and mighty allow the laws of the land to take effect and all Nigerian citizens are subject to the laws of the land.”

“We wish to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, chairman of AMCON, Muiz Banire and the managing director of AMCON, Lawan Kuru to the plight of the people,” he said.

Continuing, he said, “we are Nigerian citizens and we surely deserve the protection of the government. We cannot allow anybody to undermine the law of the land; in the matters of Victory Park Estate and other similar matters, we deserve the protection of the constitution of the land; we deserve the protection of our elected custodian of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

LERSA also called on the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to immediately direct men of the Nigeria Police not to allow themselves to be used by AMCON and their Receiver Manager, Lanre Olaoluwa, to disturb the peace of the residents and property owners of Victory Park Estate.

Emadoye lamented the plight of residents and landlords at the estate who invested their hard-earned money into premium real estate and now risk losing the product of their sweat to what he called “some spurious claims” from AMCON.

Addressing the leadership of the Victory Park Estate Owners & Residents Association, he noted that injury to one was injury to all and promised that LERSA would not relent until the residents and owners of Victory Park Estate got justice.

Housing Deficit

The LERSA Vice President, O.P.A Ladega, also condemned the impunity being displayed by the Receiver Manager,  pleading with the state and federal governments to call AMCON to order and to desist from further harassment and persecution of the legitimate residents and owners of the Victory Park Estate.

The chairman of Victory Park Estate Residents Association, Godfrey Efeurhobo, thanked the visiting LERSA team and promised that they would remain law-abiding and steadfast in the defence of their legitimate properties. He expressed gratitude to fellow Lagosians and other Nigerians from far and near; for the immense show of support and encouragement.

Source: businessdayng

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