Access to safe drinking water is a matter of life and death. Despite increased attention to the topic in recent years and the United Nations General Assembly’s declaration in 2012 of the human right to water and sanitation, many of the poor and marginalized around the world still do not have reliable access to safe drinking water or basic sanitation.
This course considers the multi-disciplinary intersection of engineering/technical, behavioural, and governance factors around water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in low- and middle-income settings. Traditionally, engineers, product designers, and policy makers have overlooked the human and local aspect of the design and implementation of WASH programs and interventions, which often results in fail infrastructure and decreased public health outcomes. This course will study the problems with traditional methods, look at some successful solutions and try to understand the complexities of how to create successful WASH interventions. Using a combination of class discussions, group projects and presentations, and a number of written assignments, students will explore problems and solutions for WASH programming around the world. Course content will be shared through relevant reading material, faculty-led discussions and guest lectures from academia, government, and non-government organization sector leaders. Upon completion of the course students should have a better appreciation for the complexity of the long-standing challenges facing sustained access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in low and middle-income settings and be better prepared to work in one of those settings in a successful way.