Staff working in the Hygiene Centre and Environmental Health Group at the London School for Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are involved in their own research as well as collaborations with academic and corporate institutions, aid agencies and governments. They also undertake consultancies for agencies such as the World Bank and the UK Department for International Development. Staff sit on international comittees, and Sandy Cairncross is a trustee of WaterAid and also of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene.
There is the potential to influence policy through research results, and through long and short term assignments. The examples given below range from the results of large programmes such as the Global PPP for Hand washing, to a rapid e-mail response to a specific technical request.
Val Curtis has played a major role in setting up this Public Private Partnership, and in the country programmes (in Ghana, Peru and elsewhere) which it has promoted. In particular she was able to convince the major players within the Alliance of the importance of formative research for the design of effective interventions.
Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries, 2nd edition, World Bank, 2006. Sandy Cairncross wrote the chapter on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in this important reference work. Enquiries received very shortly after its publication, reveal that it is being read very carefully by senior staff at the World Bank. Ghana's Guinea Worm Eradication Programme
In 2005, Ghana's Guinea worm eradication programme had stagnated for 10 years and its failure to make progress was jeopardising the global eradication initiative. The stakeholders called for a multi-donor evaluation of the programme to diagnose the problems and point the way forward. It took place on June 2005 and was led by Sandy Cairncross. Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council’s Iguaçu Action Programme The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council’s Iguaçu Action Programme (IAP) was based on a commitment to the elimination of poverty and the promotion of human development through efforts to facilitate basic hygiene and sanitation for all.
A major component of the programme is the work to develop, test and promote improved approaches to monitoring access to water, sanitation and hygiene, conducted by Kristof Bostoen, to whom the work was subcontracted. Research in the Dodoma district of Tanzania Colin McCubbin has been conducting his research in the Dodoma district of Tanzania. He has been able to convince the Dodoma Rural District authorities to collect his research data, as they can use it themselves for a sanitation assessment. Sometimes only an e-mail is required to get the message across!
WaterAid requested a response from Sandy Cairncross to explain why the omission of handpumps on some wells was justified when their maintenance could not be guaranteed. Electronic communication allows for a rapid response which can be copied to key players. Within days, the Minister concerned was made aware of the issues and praised WaterAid's position on National Radio.
Environmental Health Officers in Capetown were concerned recently that Rat-Tailed Maggots had been seen in toilets and might be breeding in the water supply. An email response from Sandy Cairncross resulted in the real source of the problem being identified quickly. The Hygiene Centre and Environmental Health Group produce researchers with unique skills The Hygiene Centre and Environmental Health Group produce researchers with unique skills. When staff move on, they not only take their own knowledge but the network that the Centre has built up. This fosters links between organisations, as well as the rapid exchange of information, and provides a strong basis for collaboration.
The Centre also encourages exchanges of staff between organisations. For example Beth Scott recently spent 6 months working for Unilever in their Marketing Department and Myriam Sidibe' will follow her. Currently there are two former staff from the group at the World Bank. Currently there are two former staff from the Group at the World Bank and current staff have previously worked for Unicef, WaterAid and DFID.
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