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DRI international research center to focus on water, sanitation, hygiene and environmental issues


RENO -  As part of an international initiative to expand and build on the Desert Research Institute’s (DRI) work in developing countries, the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents approved last week the creation of a new center to be based in Reno.

WASH communitywellThe Center for International Water and Sustainability (CIWAS), led by DRI’s Braimah Apambire, Ph.D., will serve as the foundation to grow DRI’s capacity to provide both information and the technical capability to governmental and non-governmental organizations working to identify and solve problems related to human health and management of environmental resources, especially water.

“The primary purpose of CIWAS is to address the gaps in knowledge, research and human resource capacity that persist in developing countries,” said Apambire, a native of Northern Ghana and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) hydrologic sciences program. “This research will not only provide an informational gateway and technical approach to developing clean water solutions, but it will give citizens in developing countries an opportunity to improve the quality and effective use of a precious resource – water.”

A generous $500,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation will be used to provide support for CIWAS personnel to expand DRI’s existing programs (e.g., the very successful water programs in West Africa supported by the Hilton Foundation and World Vision International) and to seek new funding opportunities. The continuation of DRI's involvement in West Africa and the expansion of DRI's work in East and Southern Africa, Mexico, and India will provide a solid base from which to develop large sustainable programs.

This collaborative research center will also support DRI’s partnership with the University for Development Studies (a public university in the Republic of Ghana) and World Vision International, to develop and run academic certificate, diploma and degree programs to train middle and high-level manpower to manage the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector as well as work with DRI faculty to develop appropriate and affordable WASH technologies for rural communities.

DRI has also recently begun work with Global Impact, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for humanitarian needs around the world, to initiate a charitable giving campaign to support the Institute’s WASH research activities. More information about CIWAS and DRI’s work in the WASH sector can be found online at -

Photos and video of DRI's work in West Africa available upon request. 

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