CIWAS Newsletter                              August 2020

While 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, it has also presented unique opportunities to help continue and support sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and effective environmental resource management across the developing world. DRI’s Center for International Water and Sustainability (CIWAS) has been adapting to changes and is continuously collaborating with partnering organizations to ensure project sustainability. Utilizing various platforms of telecommunication has been an invaluable learning experience and instrumental in our work as we continue to broaden our presence to reach as many people as possible. CIWAS has also been implementing new strategies to cope with the crisis and is using all possible methods, resources, and tools available to ensure that we can continue making an impactful difference in the lives of all the people we help.
As always, the DRI/CIWAS team and I thank you for your interest and support of our work to improve lives.
- Braimah Apambire, Director

Highlights of our Work:

WASH Capacity Building Program

Cohort 5 students and instructors
Our females students in Cohort 5
As the new year began, students from Cohort 5 of the WASH Capacity Building Program started their face-to-face courses, with field and lab work late February in Bolgatanga, Ghana. The group of 36 students come from 20 sub-Saharan African countries and India. Cohort 5 courses were taught by Dr. Braimah Apambire, from DRI; Dr. John Akudago, International WASH Expert; and Dr. Emmanuel Opong, Regional Director from World Vision International. This year, we are proud to inform that DRI-WASH Capacity program had a high enrollment of female WASH professionals (18), which helps build the capacity of women in the sector. The increase in female enrollment brings upon a positive outlook for more female professionals to enroll and participate in future WASH Capacity Building Courses.

Cohort 5 went on field trips where students had the opportunity to learn more about WASH programs and water quality sampling, testing, data analysis and interpretation.  Due to COVID-19, new lectures and student assignments were developed on the occurrence and management of Epidemic Diseases. Many students expressed how the course has enhanced their knowledge in WASH and has given them additional experience they can apply to their work. Cohort 5 students are looking forward to the second face-to-face session in the fall, which will begin on-line in mid-August. Given the challenges COVID-19 has presented, students will have longer on-line classes with the possibility of shorter face-to-face teaching sessions and field work later in the year. 
University for Development Studies and DRI/CIWAS International WASH Conference
Some Participants and Government of Ghana Officials who made remarks at the Opening Session of 2020 WASH Conference
CIWAS planned and co-cohosted the 3rd International WASH conference with the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Tamale, Ghana in January 2020. Other organizations that co-sponsored the Conference were the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), World Vision Ghana, Ghana Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), The Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, the Universities WASH (UWASH) Network, UNICEF, Global Communities, Northern Development Authority and Afram Planes Development Organization. 
The theme for the conference was “Climate Change and Sustainability of WASH Services” and it attracted more than 100 participants from Ghana and the sub-region. Government officials and their representations who provided remarks at the conference included the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, The Northern Regional Minister and the CEO of the Environmental Protection Agency. 
CIWAS and some of our partners presented four papers covering different aspects of our work at the conference. 
Circuit Rider Program
Northern Ghana
Due to COVID-19, our Circuit Rider programming in Northern Ghana has slowed down.  However, CIWAS and UDS have been able to conduct virtual meetings and field visits in the East Gonja Municipality to assess the work of the Circuit Riders. With lockdown and travel restrictions being eased in Ghana, a workshop on long-term sustainability of WASH services is being planned for the Circuit Riders in the East Gonja Municipality and North East Gonja District, and new technicians from the North Gonja District in August 2020. 
CIWAS partners assessing a Health Care Facility in Honduras
Program Manager, Claire Wang, traveled to Honduras in January to meet CIWAS’ local Honduran partner, the Honduran Association of Water System Administrators, or Asociación Hondureña de Juntas Administradoras de Sistemas de Agua (AHJASA).  CIWAS is planning a second phase of the project with possiblefunding from the Geisse Foundation. On the trip, Claire, representatives from the Geisse Foundation, and AHJASA staff visited two communities, Barrio el Plan and Linderos. The water systems of the two communities were assessed in 2017 by CIWAS and AHJASA in a study on water projects sponsored by Rotary.  Moving forward, CIWAS will support AHJASA in developing new curriculum and training their Circuit Rider technicians who provide administrative and technical support to community water boards throughout Honduras.
For more information, click here to see our “Circuit Rider Program Summaries, Stories, and Successes.” 
WASH in Health Care Facilities (HCFs)
A nurse in a Health Care Facility in Malawi
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an interesting impact on our work on WASH in HCFs.  Government partners in Malawi have been occupied with addressing immediate COVID needs, and our plans to return to Malawi for the next phase of the project remain uncertain.  Still, we have been continuing to move forward in our efforts to help improve WASH in HCFs in Rumphi district, especially as it is crucial to COVID prevention and response.  We have maintained communication with local partners and international NGOs working in Malawi, providing relevant information as needed and staying up to date on how the situation will affect upcoming plans around WASH sustainability so that WASH services, crucial to COVID response, can be sustainably maintained. 
We are continuing to work with our local partners to solidify next steps, and will adapt to the changing situation so that WASH services, crucial to COVID response, can be sustainably maintained.  
To learn more about WASH in Health Care Facilities, click here.

2020 WASH Forum

Dr. Joe Amon (Drexel University), Dr. Braimah Apambire (DRI) along with Dave and Dana Dornsife at the World Vision WASH Forum
Dr. Emmanuel Opong along with students from Cohort 3 and 4
In January, Dr. Braimah Apambire participated in two WASH Capacity Building Program activities with World Vision and major donors and partners. The first was the World Vision WASH Forum which took place in Kumasi, Ghana with over 100 participants. DRI/CIWAS and Drexel University presented results of the WASHCap Program at the Forum as well. WASHCap students from Cohorts 3 and 4 were also presented with their Graduate certificates in International WASH awarded by UNR for successfully completing the program. A total of 68 students from 23 countries received their certificates from Dave and Dana Dornsife, major donors of the WASHCap Program. 
Dornsife 2020 Africa trip
Dr. Apambire also participated in the Dornsife 2020 Africa trip within Ghana after the Forum, and then to Sierra Leone and Senegal where the team visited several WASH projects. 

CIWAS Graduate Research

CIWAS Graduate Research student Ms. Palistha Shrestha, studying in the Masters program at University of Nevada, Reno under Braimah’s supervision, was awarded the Global Studies Graduate Student Research Grant from the Ozmen Institute for Global Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno for her thesis research titled “Field Study of Sequentially Coupled Moringa Oleifera Seed Extract Technology for Fluoride Removal.” The research will focus on studying the efficiency of the fluoride removal technology in rural communities of Ghana. 
To learn more about the Ozmen Institute for Global Studies, click here
Click to learn more about CIWAS
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