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UNC Gillings’ Water Institute, World Vision Partnership Will Improve Clean Water Access in 10 African Nations

October 13, 2016
Gillings School of Global Public Health

A six-year grant by World Vision to the Water Institute at UNC will create a partnership to improve water, sanitation and hygiene interventions in several low- and middle-income countries, with the long-term goal of helping to solve the global water and sanitation crisis by 2030.

The partnership between the Water Institute, housed in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and World Vision builds on long-standing partnerships that World Vision already has established for water and sanitation programs throughout Africa.

“World Vision and the Water Institute at UNC share two important things – a desire to make a real, substantive difference and a willingness to learn and improve,” said Institute Director Jamie Bartram, Ph.D., and Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering. “This partnership builds on those common values to deliver more impact, more sustainability and more ‘bang for the buck’ from the things World Vision is already doing well today — and to learn lessons important to implementers worldwide.”

The partnership builds upon two recent joint studies by the Water Institute and World Vision that examined the long-term functionality of wells and water points funded by the Hilton Foundation and created and maintained by World Vision. The studies established baselines for water points in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

The new studies covered by the partnership will include rigorous evaluations of World Vision’s water, sanitation and hygiene programming in the 10 countries covered in the previous studies. The studies also will provide midline evaluations in 2017 and final evaluations in 2020.“The Water Institute brings world class research capabilities, an ability to share lessons learned across the water sector so that not only World Vision, but other groups, can improve, and it brings the approach of monitoring, learning and evaluation, and an ability to do this work globally,” said Greg Allgood, Ph.D., vice president of World Vision and a Gillings alumnus. “Through this effort, UNC will play a major role in helping achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of water and sanitation for everyone by 2030. UNC is providing the major means for improvement to the NGO that is providing more clean water than any other group.”

Future studies also will examine and assess the best practices for the development of water committees, which are local groups that manage water quality and the maintenance of wells and other water points within individual communities. They will also analyze factors that contribute to the sustainability of solar-powered water systems and the feasibility of adapting Continuing Quality Improvement programs to the water and sanitation sector.

“World Vision is committed to working with our partners to provide sustainable clean water and sanitation to everyone everywhere we work, and in order to fulfill this vision, we need to improve our approach, doing some things differently and many things more efficiently,” says Allgood. “Our partnership with the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina will provide data and lessons learned, allowing us to improve at an unprecedented scale.”

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