Newsletter: July 29, 2015, Issue #56


Global WaSH News

United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals report

The recently released United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals report presents 25 years of progress on global social, environmental and economic challenges. Significant gains in water and sanitation were realized, but much work remains. For the post-2015 development agenda, stakeholder groups have called for a stronger commitment on rights to water and sanitation and inclusion of a hygiene indicator. Research insights by The Water Institute at UNC have also helped turn the conversation to improving water quality monitoring and the importance of WaSH in non-household settings. These and many other contributions are informing the role of water and sanitation in 17 new Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted at the UN Summit in September.

Conference News

Water and Health Conference 2015: Call for late- breaking abstracts

The Water and Health Conference 2015 will be held October 26-30 in Chapel Hill, NC, USA. We are accepting late-breaking abstracts related to the Conference theme “WaSH in emergencies and outbreaks” until July 31. Authors of selected abstracts will be offered a poster presentation at the Conference.

Schedules for verbal and poster presentations and side events are now available on the Conference website.

The early bird registration rate will be offered until August 14.

Water Institute News

WaSH Policy Research Digest

The Water Institute at UNC developed a WaSH Policy Research Digest to meet the evidence needs of in-country decision makers. The Digest, published quarterly, has two sections: the first summarizes and explains the significance of recently published policy-relevant research or analysis, highlighting implications for WaSH policy. The second section focuses on a particular policy-relevant question with synthesis of available literature to reaching specific conclusions, highlighting policy relevant implications, and providing guidance to additional resources on the topic. If you are interested in receiving the WaSH Policy Research Digest, you may subscribe here.

Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) learning brief released

In an effort to reduce open defecation, Plan International supports community-led total sanitation (CLTS), a behavior change intervention, in various countries. This learning brief by The Water Institute at UNC presents the roles of local actors in Plan International’s CLTS program activities in Cambodia and highlights considerations for optimizing outcomes. Plan International and other sanitation practitioners can support government and local actors in developing a systematic approach to community selection, strengthening facilitation training, and standardizing monitoring and evaluation processes.

Now hiring director of communications and knowledge management

We are seeking a director of knowledge management and communications to lead both the knowledge management and communications teams. This person will plan and implement a comprehensive strategy for both internal and external audiences to ensure activities, results, and resources have policy impact. Further information can be found on the Careers at Carolina website.

New faces at The Water Institute

David Fuente has joined The Water Institute as a program coordinator. David is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill and is an applied environmental economist and planner. Jeanne Luh, who joined The Water Institute as a postdoctoral research associate in 2012, is now also a program coordinator. Dottie Schmitt joins The Water Institute as a program support assistant with over ten years of multi-disciplinary project management experience.

Recent Publications on WaSH from UNC Researchers

DeFelice, Nicholas, Jill Johnston, and Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson. 2015. “Acute Gastrointestinal Illness Risks in North Carolina Community Water Systems: A Methodological Comparison.” Environmental Science and Technology (Accepted Manuscript). DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01898

This study compared three approaches to estimate the annual number of emergency department visits for acute gastrointestinal illness attributable to microorganisms in North Carolina, U.S.A. community water systems. Each method was used to analyze 2007-2013 water monitoring and emergency department data from state agencies. The comparison revealed two orders of magnitude difference in the drinking water attributable risk method and the other methods used in this study. The inconsistency presents an opportunity to improve methods for estimating endemic waterborne disease risks in order to prioritize investments to improve community drinking water systems.

Jordanova, Tania, Ryan Cronk, Wanda Obando, Octavio Z. Medina, Rinko Kinoshita, and Jamie Bartram. 2015. “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools in Low Socio-Economic Regions in Nicaragua: A Cross-Sectional Survey.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12 (6): 6197-6217.

UNICEF Nicaragua and partners conducted a cross-sectional survey of WaSH in 526 schools in 12 low socio-economic status municipalities in Nicaragua. WaSH coverage was significantly higher in urban areas than in rural ones. Presence of drinking water infrastructure (43%) was lower than sanitation infrastructure (64%). Of schools with water infrastructure, 26% had non-functional systems. This study offers new insights that can be used by donors, service providers, and policy makers to better target resources in Nicaraguan schools.

Sadoff, C.W., J.W. Hall, D. Grey, J.C.J.H. Aerts, C. Ait-KadiBrown, A. Cox, S. Dadson, D. Garrick, J. Kelman, P. McCornick, C. Ringler, M. Rosegrant, D. Whittington, and D. Wiberg. 2015. Securing Water, Sustaining Growth: Report of the GWP/OECD Task Force on Water Security and Sustainable Growth. University of Oxford, UK. 180 pp. ISBN: 978-1-874370-55-0.

This report of the Global Water Partnership and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Task Force on water security and sustainable growth analyzes the dynamics of water security and growth, quantifies water-related risks and opportunities, and assesses past investment pathways toward water security. It provides empirical evidence to guide future investment in water security to promote sustainable growth and well-being.

Campus WaSH News

UNC-Chapel Hill to open Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence

On June 23, the Department of Homeland Security announced a $20 million award to UNC-Chapel Hill over five years to conduct research and provide public education on ways to reduce harm from coastal natural disasters. Rick Luettich, ScD, principle investigator at the new center, is also the director of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences and a jointly appointed professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. The initiative will include collaboration with partner universities to address the challenges facing vulnerable coastal communities across the United States, including water resource quantity and quality.

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