Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CSIS / Global Water Futures / Universities and Water, Sanitation

Below is information about the next important step in the work of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Global Water Futures program

Universities and International Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

The mission: To strengthen the response of U.S. institutions of higher education to the global need for drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) internationally.

The CSIS Global Water Futures Project is in the initial stages of hosting a consortium of U.S. universities involved in international water, sanitation, and hygiene activities. One initial purpose of the consortium would be to promote the expansion and greater coordination of WASH activities in higher education, as well as to strengthen universities’ WASH linkages with the U.S. government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and academic institutions and governments abroad.

Many U.S. universities and colleges are already engaged in addressing global WASH concerns, or are seeking to expand WASH initiatives, in ways that include the following activities:

- Implementing practical, on-the-ground, WASH projects involving faculty and students;

- Partnering with colleges and universities in developing countries on training programs and other approaches to increase in-country capacity;

- Training the next generation of WASH professionals with an emphasis on experiential learning;

- Initiating and evaluating WASH-related technologies;

- Assisting the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Department of State, including individual USAID Missions, as well as other U.S. government agencies working internationally, in researching and developing evidence-based WASH strategies and in analyzing and evaluating outcomes;

- Promoting awareness beyond public health and engineering programs of the economic, gender equity, national security, social, and environmental benefits of advancing activities to address the global WASH crisis;

- Developing public-private partnerships with corporations, civil society, foundations, and faith-based organizations.

A consortium would allow universities and colleges engaged in WASH activities abroad not only to work together in a more coordinated fashion, but also to encourage additional technological innovation, strengthen academic, philanthropic and governmental support, and increase momentum for the global WASH sector generally. A consortium would also facilitate a clearinghouse of information and best practices, which could easily be shared with counterparts outside of academia. As demands grow for effective foreign assistance in the WASH sector, U.S. college and university faculty, staff, and students can respond with technical expertise, knowledge, and personnel in host countries to achieve the goals of sustainable WASH-related development programs.

The eventual purposes of such a consortium will be determined by those choosing to participate in coming years.  So start participating! Contact details:

Katryn Bowe, Project Coordinator, Global Water Futures and Research Assistant, Global Strategy Institute

(202) 775-3156 

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