Bill Gates — now the world’s richest man — is invested in India, its people, their health and land

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  • American philanthropist and Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates recently regained his status as the world’s richest man, dethroning Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works to develop innovative ways to counter the socio-economic gaps in the country.
  • The trust works across four sectors — health, financial services, sanitation and agricultural development — to improve the quality of life.
  • The foundation has also invested in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Institute (WASHi) — which trains over 100 sanitation professionals.
American philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates — who recently regained his status as the world’s richest man dethroning Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — has been putting his wealth to good use. And India has a lot to gain from it.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation develops innovative ways to counter the many socio-economic gaps in the country. In India, its focus is on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The trust works across health, financial services, sanitation and agricultural development. Its initiatives in India includes Digital Green organisation, PCI (Project Concern International), Bharat, BioE and Serum amongst others.

Here is a look at all the activities of Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation in India.

Healthcare

The foundation has been working with Bihar government for over a decade to eradicate malnutrition in mothers and children. The move aims to bring down child mortality rate. After its many initiatives, the child mortality rate in Bihar fell by a third.

In the early 2000’s, Bill and Melinda Gates met women from the commercial sex industry — who were suffering from HIV. In 2002, it announced a $100 million fund to lessen the spread of HIV/AIDS in India.

“Many of them were despised and stigmatized in their own communities. Why they ended up having to trade sex was basically survival, and what it meant to them to have people from outside come and listen to their stories, be willing to hug and embrace them, and treat them like human beings was a very moving moment,” Physician Helene Gayle told Fortune.

In 2010, the Gates Foundation also developed and tested new techniques to improve healthcare. It developed teaching aids, undertook nurse-mentoring programmes amongst others.

Sanitation

In 2012, PCI (Project Concern International) project — ‘Parivartan’ — encouraged self-help groups to take up healthy and hygienic practices. “The Parivartan project found that the key was providing a range of healthier options instead of prescribing a single solution that might not work for everyone,” the Gates Foundation said. Soon after, it launched ‘Jeevika’ programme in Bihar to promote sanitation.

The foundation also invested in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Institute (WASHi) — which extends technical assistance to various state governments along with training programmes for communities. The initiative has trained over 100 sanitation professionals.

Agricultural Development

Digital Green is a global development organization that empowers small farmers. In the last few years, the organisation has educated over 1.3 million smallholder farmers. Particularly in Bihar, it helped rice farmers improve their yields by 20%.

It is also helping farmers collect and transport produce in a way that generates better prices in the market.

Financial Services

The Gates Foundation also extends digital financial services to government and private sector entities which help the disadvantaged make safe payments. It aims to protect the poor from unexpected financial shocks.

It also works with corporates to design digital financial products.
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