100&Change: 2021

University of Notre Dame du Lac

Solving Schistosomiasis and Food, Water, and Energy Shortages in Africa

We reduce schistosomiasis and increase food, water, and energy access by removing aquatic vegetation and converting it to compost, livestock feed, and cooking gas.

Submitted: August 2019
DOWNLOAD: Project Factsheet
Two-page overview of proposal
Competition Participation
100&Change: 2021
Current Work Location(s):
  • Saint-Louis, Senegal
  • Cacheu Region, Guinea-Bissau
  • North Bank Division, Gambia
  • District de Nouakchott, Mauritania
  • Saint-Louis, Senegal
Priority Population(s):
  • Children and youth
  • People of African descent
  • Economically disadvantaged people
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
  • 1. No poverty
  • 2. Zero hunger
  • 3. Good health and well-being
  • 6. Clean water and sanitation
  • 7. Affordable and clean energy
  • 8. Decent work and economic growth
  • 10. Reduced inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable cities and communities
  • 12. Responsible consumption and production
  • 13. Climate action

Executive Summary

Food, water, and energy shortages and infectious diseases torment marginalized populations in the developing world. By removing aquatic vegetation from water access points, we can increase open water access needed by villagers and reduce schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease caused by snails with >1/10th of the global population at risk. Converting this vegetation to compost or livestock feed significantly increases food production, and using it as fuel in biodigesters offers both fertilizer and cooking gas. Thus, a single intervention has enormous potential to simultaneously and sustainably address food, water, and energy shortages and a rampant infectious disease. To scale this solution in West and East Africa, we use satellite imagery to map locations of this vegetation, machine learning to geographically target this intervention, and cell phone alert systems. There is also potential to mechanize vegetation removal and scale throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

University of Notre Dame du Lac

website: http://www.nd.edu
Organization Headquarters
Indiana, United States
Organization ID
Annual Operating Budget
> $1 Billion
Number of Full-time Employees
> 1,000

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity