BP Agrawal is the recipient of the 2010 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. The social entrepreneur is being honored for innovative approaches to improving the global public health system, the Massachusets Institute of Development said.
Agrawal is the founder of Sustainable Innovations, a nonprofit dedicated to building self-sustainable enterprises. He is in talks with the government of India to expand his rainwater harvesting system Aakash Ganga, or “River from the Sky,” which in 2006 won a World Bank Development Marketplace Award for an innovative approach to development challenges surrounding clean water. He is also collaborating with the U.S. Agency for International Development, World Health Organization, UNICEF and others to scale up kiosk-based health facilities he created with Arogya Ghar as part of their “Clinics for Mass Care” initative.
“People look at culture, traditions, and social norms as something that holds society back,” Agrawal told Wired magazine, which profiled the Indian national April 28. “What we realized was, cultural traditions are an asset of a village. They are like social capital that can be monetized.”