University of Brighton Alumni Association

a picture of 3 Local representatives working on the project - one is holding a clipboard

Groundbreaking water sanitation and hygiene research

Read more about how donations from University of Brighton alumni are funding vital water sanitation research in Africa and Asia

Water, sanitation and hygiene (known as WASH) are crucial to human health and well-being. Safe WASH is not only a prerequisite to health, but contributes to livelihoods, school attendance and dignity, and helps to create resilient communities living in healthy environments.

We are immensely grateful to our alumni donors, who are funding much needed WASH activities in Africa and Asia, making a life-changing difference to communities across the globe.

Monitoring groundwater pollution in Nepal

Over the past year, funds have been used to purchase Compartmental Bag Tests (CBT); portable water testing kits which were successfully used to monitor groundwater pollution in north-eastern Nepal. Working with local scientists, water samples have been taken from households and the CBT kits used to detect and identify the presence of potentially harmful bacteria in the samples.

The beauty of these kits is that they allow us to establish the microbiological quality of people’s water supplies without the need for a sophisticated water testing laboratory.” Professor James Ebdon, University of Brighton

This work is part of a project called Towards Brown Gold, led by IDS, Sussex and involving partners in Nepal, India, Ghana, and Ethiopia who are supporting ongoing research in the town of Gulariya, Nepal to understand risks to human health and the local environment. The work is feeding into Nepal’s master plan for water and sanitation and journal publications detailing the findings are expected later in 2024.

Preventing infectious disease in Bangladesh

Another current project is Project SMaRT, which seeks to optimise the deployment of lime treatment as a potential backstop with which to safely deal with rapid increases in human waste during humanitarian crises, or to prevent infectious disease transmission during disease outbreaks at healthcare centres.

The project, based at the Rohingya Camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, focuses on two Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants (FSTPs) processing faecal waste from communal latrines and clinical settings and is a partnership between the University of Brighton,Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and BRAC Humanitarian Crisis Management.

The project is supported by ELRHA, a global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation and seeks to develop practical, innovative adaptations and interventions to address inconsistencies and shortcomings associated with existing lime treatment approaches. The key focus areas include:

  1. Development of novel field-based kits
  2. Production of simplified dosing protocols
  3. Assessment of pathogen removal
  4. Suitability of lime in healthcare settings

University of Brighton expertise

This crucial research work is being led by two Brighton academics and alumni, Professor James Ebdon an Environmental Microbiologist interested in the role of water in the spread and control of water-related diseases, and Dr Diogo Da Silva, a Senior Lecturer interested in new and low-cost approaches for treatment and assessment of drinking and bathing waters, wastewater and faecal sludge.

You can view Professor Ebdon’s recent inaugural lecture ‘Humans, Health and H2Ope: Combatting waterborne disease in an age of phage’, which highlights WASH research being supported in Nepal, India, Bangladesh.

And if you would like to find out more, you can read a recent interview with Professor Ebdon about his research and the SMaRT project, and this article featuring WASH work in Bangladesh.

africaAlumniasiadonationsdonordonorsfundinghealthImpact of fundingphilanthropyresearchscienceUniversity of Brightonwater

Alex Petrovic • February 22, 2024

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