Project Concern International in San Diego has announced a $15 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help improve sanitation and child and maternal health in the Indian state of Bihar.
Awarded through the foundation's Ananya program, a portfolio of complementary investments valued at more than $100 million that was launched in partnership with the government of Bihar, the grant will support PCI's Project Parivartan ("transformation" in Hindi) in a region that is home to one of India's most marginalized populations, the neglected castes of the Mahadalits. Considered one of India's most underdeveloped states, Bihar is plagued by low literacy rates, poor infrastructure, and the second-highest rate of maternal deaths in the country. To help address the situation, PCI will work to implement the "community mobilization" component of Ananya, which complements other supply- and demand-side investments designed to improve family health outcomes by strengthening community action.
The project aims to help vulnerable communities in Bihar state by reducing maternal and child deaths, advancing family health and sanitation practices, and using data to hold the government accountable for quality and equity in health and sanitation services.
"PCI is thrilled to reach these vulnerable populations," said the organization's CEO George Guimaraes. "Receiving this grant will allow PCI to continue to implement large-scale community programs in the world's poorest regions. We are eager to bring our training and resources to the Bihar region to build sustainable, long-term impact."