The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation often focuses their efforts on improving the standard of living in the developing world. One of the problems in the developing world is that there is little infrastructure for plumbing. The result is widespread disease and death because waste is not properly disposed of across a developing nation. This leads to increased infant mortality rates and water pollution. Keep in mind, the developing world often accounts for 1 to 2.6 billion people, depending on a definition for developing nation. That means almost a quarter of the people in the world do not have access to any toilets whatsoever. Studies show that 1.8 million children die each year from a water-borne illness that is the result of polluted drinking water from public defecation. Bill Gates wants to alleviate this problem.
The $42 million investment is to entice research universities and inventors to create a clean, efficient, and cheap toilet for citizens in the developing world. That way, the people can afford such a device and use it in their daily lives. The hope is to decrease the numerous health problems that are associated with the lack of toilets or waste management systems in the developing world.