Sarphati Sanitation Challenge 2021 - Aqua for All

Sarphati Sanitation Challenge

The global challenge for sanitation solutions

Seeking Innovators in Sanitation Entrepreneurship!

Aqua for All, World Waternet and Accenture are proud to launch the first ever Sarphati Sanitation Challenge!

Since 2013, the Sarphati Sanitation Awards have sought to honour entrepreneurial contributions to the global sanitation challenge. This year, we transformed the Sarphati Sanitation Awards into the Sarphati Sanitation Challenge, to support promising market-based sanitation solutions on their path to scale. We called on entrepreneurs who have a scalable and locally-embedded sanitation solution to apply, in order to accelerate access to safe sanitation for all.

Sarphati Sanitation Challenge participants will receive:

  • Expert business training and tailor-made coaching from Accenture
  • Platforms and access to the Amsterdam International Water Week and Stockholm World Water Week
  • A chance to win the grand prize of €100,000 for implementation of their solution, and additional Accenture support after the Challenge.

Check out our Sarphati Sanitation Challenge video here:


The theme for this year’s Challenge is ‘Sanitation and Health’, which highlights how entrepreneurial solutions are bridging key gaps and finding opportunities along the sanitation-health nexus.

We received a high number of quality applications from 31 countries, which made it a tough job for the judges to select the Top 10 but they managed to select 10 semi-finalists! You can read all about them here


The application is open to any registered entity, with a market based sanitation solution. Your solution must have at least a proof of concept, and ideally be at a Beta version. Solutions must be designed for and/or implemented in low-and middle-income regions (i.e. Africa, Asia and Latin America).


This year's theme is 'Sanitation and Health'. We are seeking solutions bridging key gaps and finding opportunities along the sanitation-health nexus.


Applications will be judged based on the following criteria: Innovation, Improved access to sanitation, Health impacts, Scalability, Readiness and Sustainability.

Key dates

Applications are due by the 5th of June. Applicants will be informed of their selection by mid June, and the trainings will run in June and July. Participants will also participate in the Stockholm World Water Week in August, and the Amsterdam International Water Week in November.

Sarphati Sanitation Awards 2019

In 2019, the Sarphati Sanitation Awards were presented during the Opening Ceremony of the AIWW on 4 November.

The Sarphati Sanitation Award for Lifetime Achievement was honoured to Mr Jockin Arputham, the late founder of Slum Dwellers International. Mr Arputham sadly passed away in 2018, after decades of fighting for slum dwellers’ rights and for improving sanitation in slums around the world. Ms Savita Sonawane and Ms. Sharmila Gimonkar accepted the award on behalf of Mr. Arputham.

The Sarphati Sanitation Award for Promising Entrepreneur’s nominees were Live Clean Initiatives, Tiger Toilet, and X-Runner. These organisations stood out for their commitment to sanitation and success in providing solutions for their communities. For the first time ever, the award resulted in a tie and went to X-Runner from Peru and Tiger Toilet from India

We are very proud of all the nominees and winners for their innovative and empowering sanitation solutions!

Sarphati Sanitation Symposium 2019

The Sarphati Sanitation Symposium was held for the first time on November 6th 2019, as part of the Amsterdam International Water Week, organised by World Waternet, Aqua for All and FMO. The theme for the symposium was “Access for All, Within Reach.”

The one-day symposium united actors in water and sanitation across all sectors, to discuss the pressing issues in sanitation and the solutions needed to realise safe sanitation for all.

The Symposium started with sector leaders who discussed the main challenges in sanitation, followed up by a panel in which they were challenged to provide practical and concrete solutions. Participants also heard from the winner and nominees of the Sarphati Sanitation Symposium, highlighting their creative efforts and successes in improving sanitation.

After these discussions and presentations, an educational theatre group from South Africa performed their play “Water for Life” and fruitful roundtable discussions were held on key topics in sanitation. In closing, the takeaway messages were shared from the roundtables, followed by a closing address by Pim van der Male of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

The history of the Sarphati Sanitation Awards

The Sarphati Sanitation Awards were installed by Aqua for All and World Waternet in 2013 to honour contributions to the global sanitation & public health challenge through entrepreneurship. The Awards are held in honour of Dr. Samuel Sarphati, a 19th century doctor, city planner and chemist who radically improved public health in Amsterdam by collecting and transporting human waste out of the city and making a profit in the process. The Sarphati Awards honoured those who share Dr. Sarphati’s innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, and are working for the 4.5 billion people worldwide who still lack access to safe sanitation.

The Sarphati Sanitation Awards were presented in two categories: The Sarphati Sanitation Award for Promising Entrepreneur and the Sarphati Sanitation Award for Lifetime Achievement. The awards ceremony took place every two years during the Amsterdam International Water Week (AIWW).

The Sarphati Sanitation Awards acknowledged the efforts of small, medium and large enterprises to provide sustainable access to sanitation services, especially in rural areas and low-income communities, complementing the work of public utilities.

The Sarphati Sanitation Poo-cast


In 2020, the Sarphati Sanitation Awards published “The Poo-cast”, to explore the global sanitation challenge. Check out this first episode here, where we talk with the finalists of the 2019 Sarphati Award for Promising Entrepreneur to discuss their sanitation businesses and how they see entrepreneurship as the solution to the world’s sanitation needs.