The Center for WaSH-AID translates scientific research into the creation of user-focused sanitation systems that improve people’s lives. Our research focuses on water and sanitation, hygiene, and infectious disease diagnostics. We tackle a range of complex, multidisciplinary challenges that overlap with one or more of these areas, developing technologies such as the Reclaimer, the Empower Sanitation Platform, and S.H.E.(Safe Hygiene for Everyone).
The challenge is enormous, as is the opportunity. Sanitation is critical in the effort to reduce global poverty and increase gender equality. Ensuring access to clean water and sanitation is the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #6, one of 17 areas that must be addressed by 2030 to significantly reduce global poverty. Currently:
- 4.5 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program, 2017).
- Sanitation-related diseases kill more than 800,000 people each year (WHO).
- More than 500 million women and girls lack access to facilities that provide the physical requirements for effective management of menstrual bleeding (World Bank, 2018).
- Lack of safe sanitation facilities is one of the primary reasons 130 million school-age girls are not pursuing their education (ONE).
We leverage talent through global partnerships to bring novel technologies out of the lab and into communities. We involve users – particularly girls and women - in the design, development, and prototyping of sustainable sanitation systems. A system will be successful only if it is adapted to the specific cultural, technological, and economic needs of the community in which it is placed. We rely on data to inform our decisions and are unafraid to pivot.