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. The main objectives of the capacity building program are:
- Undertake capacity building activities on WASH issues focused specifically on challenges in the developing world
- Engage in action research focused on addressing WASH issues in developing countries
- Develop and disseminate relevant information and best practices to enhance the WASH sector
Faculty from partner universities in Africa –institutions such as University of Zambia, Mzuzu University (Malawi), Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia) and the University of Development Studies (Ghana) will also be supported as guest lecturers. DRI is already engaging UDS faculty to teach some of the classes. Accordingly, a major goal of this initiative is to be able to eventually hand the administration of the program over to one or more of our African university partners.
DRI and Drexel courses are being offered for credit and taught in the field as well as on-line. There are two tracks for the program – Certificate in International WASH at DRI/University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and Public Health (Global WASH) at Drexel University. Initially, DRI/UNR is offering a certificate program, but the credits earned can be applied toward a bachelors, masters or PhD degree in International WASH should the students want to pursue one of these programs. DRI/UNR courses include:
- International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (I-WASH)
- Project Development and Management for WASH Managers and Leaders (WASH-PDM)
- WASH Field Methods (WASH-FM)
- Crosscutting Issues in WASH (CCI-WASH)
- Water Supplies and Environmental Management in Developing Countries (WSEM)
- WASH Policy, Communications and Advocacy (WASH-PCA)
- WASH Action Research in Developing Countries.(WASH-AR)
Other courses that are planned for the future include:
- Market-based approaches in WASH
- Long-term sustainability of WASH Services
- Sustainable Development Goals and WASH
- Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Developing Countries
- Water Safety Planning
Drexel University offers the following courses in the program: 1) Monitoring & Evaluation; 2) Sanitation; 3) Hygiene Promotion; 4) Behavior Change, Social and Software Aspects of WASH; and 4) Health Aspects of WASH.
DRI and Drexel University’s first cohort are 45 local staff of NGO World Vision, from 18 African countries. Prior to selecting students for this program, DRI and Drexel held formal interviews at the three World Vision WASH Regional Centers to prioritize their capacity building and action research needs, which included the design of a survey questionnaire and administration of it to World Vision WASH staff across Africa. Plans are underway to offer courses to other NGO and government staff in developing countries, as well as to students at UNR.
Affiliated DRI Faculty
- Dr. Braimah Apambire, CIWAS Director and WASH Capacity Building Program Director
- Dr. Kumud Acharya, Research Professor, Environmental Science
- Dr. Rosemary Carroll, Assistant Research Professor, Hydrology
- Dr. Alexandra D. Lutz, Associate Research Professor, Hydrology
- Mr. David McGraw, Assistant Research Scientist, Hydrology
- Tim Minor, Associate Research Scientist, GIS and Deputy Director, DEES
In addition to these, several people with extensive WASH sector experience are teaching some of the courses as adjunct faculty of the program.