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Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha receives ‘Bill Gates Senior Award 2023’



Dr Roshan Raj Shrestha (file photo)

Kathmandu, Dec 15: Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha receives ‘Bill Gates Senior Award 2023’ for outstanding contributions in environmental and public health.

Dr. Shrestha, a prominent figure in the field of environment and sanitation, has been honored with the prestigious ‘Bill Gates Senior Award 2023’. This remarkable achievement sets Dr. Shrestha apart from over 3,000 employees of the globally renowned Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, marking him as the foremost among his peers.

Bill Gates had announced the award at a special event in United States of America, underlining the importance and prestige of the award. Dr. Shrestha, who is currently based in Rwanda, participated in the honor reception program through virtual media at the International Conference on Water and Sanitation. This event, attended by experts and dignitaries from around the world, served as a platform to highlight Dr. Shrestha’s contributions and achievements.

With a career spanning over 35 years, Dr. Shrestha’s expertise in environment, sanitation, and public health is well-established. He founded the Environment and Public Health Organization (Enpho) in 1990 and has since worked in various capacities, including serving as an executive director. His international experience includes significant work through the United Nations in 2005. Since 2012, Dr. Shrestha has been an integral part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, serving as a deputy director and contributing significantly to the foundation’s goals and initiatives.

The award, which includes a financial prize of one lakh dollars (approximately NRs 1 crore 32 lakh), is not only a recognition of Dr. Shrestha’s past achievements but also a testament to his ongoing commitment and impact in the field. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, known for its philanthropic efforts in various sectors including public health, remains a leading organization in driving positive change globally, and Dr. Shrestha’s recognition within this organization further emphasizes his significant role in the field of environmental and public health.

Who is Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha?

Dr. Roshan Raj Shrestha has made significant strides in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WSH), currently serving as the Deputy Director for the Global Growth and Opportunity Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA. Since joining the foundation in November 2012 as a Program Officer, Dr. Shrestha has been instrumental in developing strategic grants with various development partners, including banks and academic institutions. His efforts have been pivotal in scaling and promoting non-sewered sanitation, fecal sludge management, and citywide inclusive sanitation (CWIS) across South Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In his current role, which he assumed in October 2021, Dr. Shrestha leads the Asia WSH program (excluding China), focusing on scaling CWIS, introducing innovative sanitation technologies, and enhancing capacity-building and advocacy efforts.

Prior to his tenure at the Foundation, Dr. Shrestha spent seven years with UN-Habitat as a Regional Technical Advisor for South Asia in their water and sanitation program and as a Settlement Improvement Advisor for the slum upgrading program in Bangladesh. His career in the WSH sector began at DiSvi International Cooperation in 1988 as a technician in a water analysis laboratory. He later founded the Environment & Public Health Organization (ENPHO) in 1990, leading it for fifteen years and establishing it as one of the foremost NGOs in Nepal’s water and sanitation sector.

Dr. Shrestha’s contributions to the field include the development of household water treatment options like PIYUSH and the Kanchan Arsenic Filter, small-scale wastewater treatment and reuse methods through constructed wetlands, and the demonstration of eco-homes featuring rainwater harvesting, greywater, and waste recycling in 2002. His academic credentials are equally impressive, holding an M.Sc. from TU, Nepal, a post-graduate course in Limnology from Austria, and a Ph.D. in Applied Natural Science (1999) from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria. His excellence in the field has been recognized with numerous national and international awards, including the Mahendra Vidhay Bhushan “Class A” in 2000, the Third World Academy of Sciences Award in 2000, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City Environment Award in 2004, the World Bank’s Development Market Global Competition award in 2003, and a place in the Top 10 for the Kyoto World Water Prize in 2006.


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