Current Programs

CIWAS has several dynamic programs underway to further the Center’s mission to increase technical capacity and provide research and training support to improve the long-term sustainability of WASH interventions in developing countries.  Current programs include:

capacitybuildingprogramWASH Capacity Building Program 

In developing countries, insufficient human-resource capacity related to WASH remains one of the most significant barriers to providing effective and sustainable services. In most developing countries, there are large, experienced international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that operate in the WASH sector, but the local field staff often lack the necessary technical human-resource capacity to effectively implement WASH interventions. To help NGOs and governments address these human -resource capacity needs, DRI, Drexel University, and University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) are collaborating to provide technical capacity training and action research to field staff across Africa through a series of competency-based modules. Courses are taught through a hybrid model of online instruction complemented by face-to-face teaching sessions and field research. Faculty from African universities are engaged as guest lecturers with an objective to build the capacity of local higher education institutions to deliver the training needing for sustainable WASH service provision.

agricultureDRI-UDS WASH Center

CIWAS has partnered with the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Northern Ghana, to establish a WASH Center at UDS, the first of its kind in the region. Through the Center, DRI and UDS are working to address outstanding research, knowledge and technical capacity gaps related to WASH and water resource management specific to West Africa.  The Center is also hosting regional conferences and meetings to further share knowledge and best practices related to WASH, and ensure learning is disseminated broadly to the WASH sector.

circuitriderprogramInternational Circuit Rider Program 

The majority of rural communities throughout the developing world struggle to provide a consistent and safe water supply due to lack of funding and qualified staff, as well as week governance, poor tariff settings, and the lack of an effective supply chain for spare parts and supplies. The Circuit Rider program, hosted by DRI, is a proven simple and cost effective model to increase the sustainability of rural WASH systems. In the Circuit Rider model 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 providing capacity building on long-term sustainability of WASH services using the Circuit Rider methodology in priority CIWAS countries. Currently, the Circuit Rider methodology is being implemented in rural northern Ghana, central Chile and Honduras.

uwashprogramUniversities WASH Network 

CIWAS is the host of the Universities WASH Network whose mission is to increase communication and coordination among universities in the United States 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 in communities and countries of greatest need to achieve universal access to safe, affordable and sustainable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

welldrillingDRI-Liberia Program

DRI has been working with the Liberian government to increase their capacity for sustainable WASH service provision for improved public health outcomes. A period of recovery and resiliency building was instituted following Liberia being declared free from Ebola. Part of the response by UNICEF Liberia was to address gaps in WASH in health facilities, as well as some communities identified during the Ebola response. The purpose of the project was to carry out hydrogeological/geophysical investigations and surveys for the siting, drilling and supervision of boreholes in selected health care facilities. DRI was selected to partner with UNICEF to undertake the hydrogeological/geophysical surveys and assist with well siting. Working with WHO and the Ministry of Health, DRI also hosted a workshop to build the capacity of the Liberian government on water quality monitoring and support the government in developing the country’s water quality standards and baseline water quality. There is an on-going Masters study in five counties around the greater Monrovia region on water quality issues.

kidsatschoolCIWAS/CRS/UDS Menstrual Hygiene Project

CIWAS partnered with Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana to support CRS’s Integrated Sanitation, Hygiene, and Nutrition for Education (I-SHINE) project in 138 communities in Northern Ghana. The focus of the project is to encourage school attendance by improving WASH behaviors.  CIWAS staff and students from the UNR Students' Association for International Water Issues led field research to better understand constraints to school attendance amongst girls during their menses.  A public event was then held in Ghana to share findings and results with other stakeholders. (

ghana algaeGhana Algal Blooms

CIWAS is working with other DRI scientists to develop a program to address harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Ghana.  An HAB is the rapid and uncontrolled accumulation of algae in freshwater or marine ecosystems, which can produce toxins destructive to humans and the environment.