Monthly Archives: September 2018

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Sub-Saharan Africa: understanding policy and practice

Science underpins Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) policies by promoting improved understanding of ‘processes’ and ‘practices’ and providing evidence enabling effectiveness, or ‘impact’ to be evaluated. However, knowledge exchange between stakeholders rarely runs smoothly or without translational challenges. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene understanding policy and practice (WaSH-UPP) will explore the grand challenge of ‘water and sanitation for all’, recently codified in UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goal 6 with particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), exploring how formal and informal institutions intersect to shape policy practices. This will be achieved through comparative analysis of two countries (Nigeria and Malawi) (i) mapping the critical actors in the WaSH-UPP-nexus;( ii) evaluating the features of science-policy discourse; (iii) revealing knowledge co-production practices; and (iv) elaborating how institutional processes interact to shape change. Despite the centrality of WaSH to human wellbeing and societal development, widespread improvements in practices in SSA remains slow, with well-recognized barriers including cultural/religious beliefs, weakly developed water services infrastructure and socio-economic factors including gender relations. WaSH-UPP will use a range of discourses, theories, and methods to compare these issues across diverse contexts. The project will equally be used to connect with the water industry, major institutions and other stakeholders including Hydro Nation Scholars initiatives of the Scottish Government Water Industry Team, UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Poicy and Science, African Development Bank (AFDB), etc to broaden the WaSH stakeholder base beyond the academic and policy communities, bringing them into conversation to understand diverse perspectives, bridge existing power and knowledge gaps, promote social learning, leading to greater impact. A WaSH science-policy context for each country will be developed to draw out commonalities and differences as a way to answer some questions of ‘what’ has or has not worked and ‘why’. WaSH-UPP is fully funded by the European Union under the Marie Curie Scheme, and coordinated by Prof John Rowan (himself a Geographer, immediate past Dean of the Social Sciences and current Vice-Principal, i.e., Deputy VC, Research, Knowledge exchange and Wider Impact).