Water, Education, Research (WatER) is an interdisciplinary research project learning about how to sustainably increase access to safe drinking water in the rural community of Longido, Tanzania, and beyond. As per the name, the work rests on 3 key pillars:

  1. Water: Water refers to the technology called a Ceramic Water Filter (CWF) at the center of this work. A CWF is a water treatment system that is used in individual homes, removing harmful bacteria like cholera & typhoid. Part of these funds go towards the purchase of filters from our local partner to study how they can be best integrated into the local culture and praxis.
  2. Education: This research also understands that the best technology in the world isn’t helpful unless people are willing to use it. 3 years of consultation with local stakeholders, as well as the last year of education programming, has shown us how important education is to facilitate behaviour change in the rural Tanzanian context. We are therefore providing women and schoolchildren with education on proper water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.
  3. Research: The final pillar of this work is research, which takes form in both natural and social science contexts. Currently, the filters cost $50 CAD, which is well beyond the means of many people in rural Tanzania that often earn less than $1 per day, so a major element of this project is studying material manipulations to make the filters more affordable. In addition, we are not only focused on studying the technology, but are also investigating pedagogical methodology to learn how to ensure that the people using the technology will continue to use it in the long-term.

All of the money donated to this fund goes directly to supporting programs implemented in Longido, Tanzania, and experimental studies conducted in laboratories at Carleton University. If you are also interested getting involved in other ways, please do not hesitate to contact Robbie Venis at robbie.venis@carleton.ca

The Background

Water is life.

From microscopic cells to the largest of mammals, every living entity requires water to live. There is thus no need more basic, and no human right more fundamental, than that of safe water access. Yet in 2020, it is a tragic reality that more than 2 billion people lack what we all need to survive and thrive, among them being the community members of Longido in Tanzania. Access to clean drinking water continues to be a pervasive challenge for this population, with particularly significant burdens placed upon women and girls, and it is time that meaningful and long-lasting change is realized.

This is the mandate of this research project, and what we are asking you to support.

We are asking you to support a holistic and intersectional methodology, marrying scientific research on technology development with field research on methods that promote behaviour change and technology adoption. We are asking you to support us in learning how to foster sustainable and long-term change for this community through locally driven and culturally relevant programming that specifically targets the needs of women in Longido.

Our work over the past 4 years has proven it is possible to develop and implement an effective and affordable technology that enables community members to feel empowered by safe water. Now, we need your help to complete our research program and help us understand how to make safe water for all a reality in Longido, and beyond.

The Rollout

Funds for this campaign will go towards:

  1. Paying our local water champions, who are women from the community that work with study participants in Longido every day. They provide education on safe water, proper sanitation, and filter use and maintenance through this program, as well as conduct interviews with study participants such that data may be collected and transmitted to the Carleton research team for analysis. Funds will be dedicated to salaries and local travel to homes and education settings, among other expenses, ensuring research efforts and data collection may continue through the COVID-19 pandemic when travel is restricted.
  2. The creation of a new study group in the community of Longido to test our research hypotheses on culturally specific and local needs-based education programming. This involves support for additional Ceramic Water Filters for distribution and purchasing all of the various expenses involved in the implementation of our education program (like notebooks, instructional materials, etc.), such that additional data may be collected and transmitted to the Carleton research team for analysis and eventual publication.
  3. The materials required to complete the scientific, laboratory-based research at Carleton University.
  4. Some travel expenses for researchers to return to the community of Longido after travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted.

The Impact

The impacts of this research are felt by a diversity of stakeholders, including local community members, Tanzanian citizens in general, the researchers themselves, the Carleton community, and the international development research community at large. Specifically, those who are able to participate in the program are significantly impacted, as they are provided with a ceramic water filter, education and associated materials on water, sanitation, and hygiene, and ongoing support from local staff to assist in any challenges they may experience in terms of their water and filters.

If you support this research program in expanding to include more participants, you will thereby be offering more individuals in the community the opportunity to experience those same benefits as well. Further, with scientific research focused on the specific product manufactured by our local partners who distribute filters across Tanzania, support for this work will also be supporting them in having a more affordable technology for distribution that may improve safe water access across a diversity of communities in the country. And finally, support for this research will also impact us, the researchers, and the academic community with whom we intend to share our findings.

By providing funding to WatER, you are allowing us to conduct this research at all, helping us learn more about sustainable practices to achieving safe water provision, learn more about how to make a technology accessible, and produce work for publication that may contribute to our personal developments, promote Carleton on an international stage, as well as contribute to an academic field aiming to make safe water access a reality for all.

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  • Onita Basu

    Amount donated: $60

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