Current Activities and Projects

WASH Capacity Building Program

Insufficient human resource capacity in developing countries across disciplines related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) remains one of the most significant barriers to effective and sustainable service provision.  Large, international non-governmental organizations operating in the sector often have local field staff who lack the necessary technical human resource capacity to effectively implement WASH interventions.  To address these unmet capacity needs, CIWAS, in partnership with Drexel University and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) have designed a series of competency-based training modules for field staff across sub-Saharan Africa. Learn more...

DRI, University of Development Studies Program

DRI has partnered with the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana to establish a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Center at the UDS. The goal of the Center is to address gaps in WASH knowledge, teach and conduct action research on WASH and collaborate with stakeholders in the sector to find sustainable solutions to WASH challenges confronting West Africa The WASH Center will benefit a wide range of institutions and individuals in the West Africa sub region and the action research conducted will lead to pragmatic and sustainable solutions of issues in the WASH sector specific to the region.

Key activities will include:

  • Conduct basic and applied research specific to issues affecting developing countries
  • Facilitate faculty and student exchange programs and internships
  • Develop and run short courses on WASH for NGO and government staff
  • Develop a Bachelor’s program in WASH
  • Develop appropriate and affordable WASH technologies for rural communities
  • Collaborate with other stakeholders in the West Africa WASH sector to execute WASH projects in rural communities
  • Document and disseminate WASH learnings and best practices

International Circuit Rider Program

The majority of rural communities struggle to provide a consistent and safe water supply due to lack of funding and qualified staff, as well as weak governance, poor tariff settings, and the lack of a supply chain for spare parts and supplies. The Circuit Rider model (insert link to Circuit Rider fact sheet PDF) is simple and cost-effective: a small group of qualified WASH technicians rotate through a circuit of communities providing advice and training to local operators on issues of sustainability, governance, treatment technologies, operations, and maintenance. To further build local capacity for sustainable WASH systems CIWAS is developing a Circuit Rider Train-the-Trainer (TtT) program, which will use the Circuit Rider methodology to set up technical assistance programs in priority CIWAS countries.  Learn more...

The Universities WASH Network

The UWASH Network (Download UWASH fact sheet PDF) will increase communication and coordination among universities and their external partners engaged in global WASH, and provide opportunities for collaborative learning to stakeholders around the world.  The Network’s mission is to increase human resource capacity for WASH in developing countries through integrated education and research programs.  These programs will provide the evidence base, training and advocacy to empower governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to improve WASH access in communities of greatest need. The Network will partner with universities in developing countries to create short courses and training programs and support global capacity building efforts already underway at these universities.  Network members will also support broader awareness building and advocacy efforts for the sector. Learn more...

Action Research on Long-term Sustainability of Coastal Watersheds in Gujarat,, India

Water is the most limiting resource in the State of Gujarat, India, and it is expected to become more limited in the future.  Increased human pressure and agricultural use require a more thorough understanding of the hydrogeology of the area. DRI is designing an interdisciplinary research program with Indian researchers to work collaboratively to gain a better understanding of the groundwater salinity problems in the State of Gujarat. The proposed research will help determine how effective the barriers to seawater intrusion and groundwater recharge structures being constructed for the Coastal Salinity Program are for reducing the salinity of ground water in the area. Results from the research will serve as a predictive tool for evaluating the type and amount of water use in the area. The overall goal of this program will be to develop an integrated water resources management (IWRM) framework to guide the long-term use of water resources.

DRI, IRC-Ghana, and Ghana Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA)

In Ghana, as in most developing countries, the majority of the responsibility for WASH service provision has changed hands from the national government to more localized, district-level government agencies.  These local government agencies often lack the capacity, however, to provide sustainable WASH services to their districts.  The CWSA has made the shift from infrastructure delivery and has released several operational documents.  The IRC is scaling up their Sustainable Services at Scale (Triple-S) project in northern Ghana and helping build NGO capacity for using the new CWSA guidelines.  Under a MOU with IRC, DRI is providing technical support and advice to the District Assemblies, IRC, CWSA and NGOs to support this work. DRI has created hydrogeologic and water quality databases and maps for East Gonja, Savelugu-Nanton, and West Mamprusi Districts in Ghana. The data and information gathered is being incorporated into the District Monitoring and Evaluation System (DiMES) project being carried about by CWSA to make the data more accessible to the districts and the country as a whole.

DRI- MWA Partnership

Following completion of a comprehensive landscape and literature review of the WASH sector in Ethiopia, CIWAS is working with the Millennium Water Alliance (MWA) partners to develop post-construction recommendations for the country.  CIWAS and MWA are also collaborating to help build the internal capacity of MWA staff on using hydrogeological and other technical data to assist in well siting, groundwater quality mapping, and with the identification, monitoring and mitigation of water quality parameters.

DRI-UNICEF Liberia Project

As part of Liberia’s recovery and resiliency building following the Ebola outbreak, UNICEF is working to address gaps in WASH in health care facilities. DRI won a bid from UNICIF and is helping to provide water to 50 health care facilities across the country. Learn more...