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DRI expands research and education opportunities in West Africa

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Dr. Stephen G. Wells, DRI President, and Professor Gabriel Teye, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies sign documents for begin a new WASH research and education partnership in West Africa. Image: DRI.

Dr. Stephen G. Wells, DRI President, and Professor Gabriel Teye, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies sign documents for begin a new WASH research and education partnership in West Africa. Image: DRI.

First step toward clean water, sanitation and hygiene solutions in developing nations

DRI NEWS — The Desert Research Institute (DRI) has entered into a partnership with the University for Development Studies (a public university in the Republic of Ghana) and World Vision International, to establish an innovative research and education center focused on finding sustainable solutions to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and environmental problems confronting West Africa.

Dr. Stephen Wells, DRI President, and Professor Gabriel Teye, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies sign documents to begin a new WASH research and education partnership in West Africa.

Based on the Navrongo Campus of the University for Development Studies in northern Ghana, the new WASH center aims to fill gaps in WASH knowledge in the region and conduct fundamental water quality research in rural communities. The center will also collaborate with stakeholders in the WASH sector within and outside Ghana to address environmental issues, water and sanitation and hygiene problems specific to developing countries.

“This unique partnership builds on more than 20 years of staff training, sustainability work and water quality research our scientists have done with World Vision and other organizations in West Africa,” said Dr. Stephen Wells, DRI President, who attended a ceremony at the University in Tamale, Ghana to formalize the partnership earlier this month. “I’m especially excited at the opportunity this gives us to facilitate faculty and student exchange programs with the University for Development Studies to help enhance the capabilities of students working in the WASH sector.”

Also on hand from Nevada to support the new partnership was Cedric Crear, District One Regent for the Nevada System of Higher Education; Jim Thomas, Ph.D., Director of Hydrologic Sciences at DRI; Braimah Apambire, Ph.D., Director of WASH programs at DRI; and Leonard Lafrance, long-time Trustee of the DRI Foundation.

Professor Gabriel Teye, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies, elaborated on the activities of the new WASH Center stating it would undertake capacity building activities on sustainable WASH services and environmental management issues focused specifically on challenges in Ghana and West Africa.

DRI, University for Development Studies and World Vision staff gather at the UDS Central Campus, Tamale, Ghana to announce a new WASH partnership.
Teye said under the new arrangement with DRI, the University for Development Studies will develop and run academic certificate, diploma and degree programs to train middle and high-level manpower to manage the WASH sector as well as work with DRI faculty to develop appropriate and affordable WASH technologies for rural communities.

Dr. Apambire, a leading expert in the WASH sector and former Director of the WASH Sector at World Vision, added that this new long-term collaboration will strengthen research capabilities, broaden research opportunities, enhance faculty expertise, and provide basic and applied research and educational opportunities for students at both institutions.

“Gaps in knowledge, research and human resource capacity impede government and non-governmental organizations’ ability to implement water, sanitation and hygiene programs in developing countries,” Apambire said. “This partnership is an opportunity to help change that.”

Funding for this opportunity was made possible through a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. With time, the new WASH Center would serve as a hub for training NGO staff and students in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, and Niger, where the majority of Hilton Foundation programs are located.

For more information on DRI’s work in the WASH Sector please visit http://www.dri.edu/ciwas