Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center

We're scouting out lively voices on water issues--three social entrepreneurs from Africa on the forefront of innovation in tackling the sanitation issues at the root of some of the world's biggest health challenges.


A major Pulitzer Center initiative this past year was Water Wars, the interactive web portal we created (with the help of designer Dan McCarey) to showcase the reporting we sponsored in East Africa by the Common Language Project team of journalists. The journalism appeared across multiple news media platforms, from major newspapers to World Vision Report, NPR, Living on Earth and Foreign Exchange. The web portal made the reporting available to high school and college students, with the opportunity to interact with our journalists both online and through their visits to over 30 schools in the U.S. and Nairobi, Kenya.

Over 1,400 individuals have joined this discussion, through questions and comments to the journalists as well as a "Share Your Story" feature that uses the YouTube platform to upload short videos and comments. We're eager to continue the conversation -- and in that spirit we'll be in Istanbul next month for the World Water Forum, the largest international forum for water and sanitation issues. Ernest Waititu, a Kenyan journalist who was part of the Water Wars reporting team, will join me in Istanbul. We'll split up after for brief field reporting trips to India and Ethiopia that are being organized by Media21, a Geneva-based group that promotes in-depth reporting on major global issues.

While on the trip we'll be gathering short video comments from experts and lay people alike, addressing key issues like sanitation, access, and climate change -- and posting those comments to the Share Your Stories segment of Water Wars. We got a headstart this week, thanks to some DC appearances organized by Water Advocates for three of Ashoka's collaborative entrepreneurs from Africa who are tackling sanitation and health issues head on. Check out the Water Wars site to get a glimpse of these extraordinary individuals -- David Kuria of Kenya, Dr. Joseph Adelegan of Nigeria, and Trevor Malaudzi. You'll also hear from David Strelneck of Ashoka and Janie Hayes of PATH, a non-profit that aims to be a catalyst for global health.

We hope you'll join the conversation, too -- and stay tuned for reports from the Istanbul conference, starting March 16.

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