Ranjiv Khush, E.D. & Co-founder, and Annette Fay, West Africa Consultant, recently attended the 5th AMCOW African Water Week in Dakar. The Africa Water Week (AWW) is convened by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) in conjunction with the African Union Commission (AUC) and organized with other development partners. It is held biennially in order to build momentum on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) water and sanitation targets by 2015, and the 2025 Africa Water Vision. The focus of the week was ‘Placing Water at the Heart of the Post-2015 Development Agenda’ which the organizers further divided into the following sub-themes:
The schedule was packed with morning plenary sessions, morning and afternoon technical sessions, side events and an exhibition. It also included forums for water-related businesses and civil society organizations. There were over 1000 participants present from governments, regional institutions, international partners, the private sector, the scientific community, civil society, and international media. The week ended with AMCOW’s ninth General Assembly of the Ministers Responsible for Water in Africa, featuring Senegalese President Macky Sall and Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf.
With the goal of this fifth African Water Week being to deliberate the level of importance water and sanitation should be given post-2015, Aquaya was pleased to see the attention given to Water Quality in the third sub-theme and several related presentations. Our Monitoring for Safe Water Program (MfSW) was featured in our partner the Senegalese National Hygiene Service’s presentation on ‘Monitoring Groundwater Quality in Urban Senegal’ for the increased frequency of water quality testing they are witnessing. Following the ninth General Assembly, AMCOW released the Dakar Declaration, which highlights the need to prioritize water security and sanitation in the post-2015 development agenda.
The Aquaya WASH Research Internship Program aims to build research capacity of Kenyan graduate students. We received over 60 applications from Kenyan Masters and PhD students to participate in the 3-month Aquaya internship in Nairobi, Kenya. We are excited to have two interns as part of our team for the next few months — Aaron Gichaba Misati and Joyce N. Kisiangani!
Aaron Gichaba Misati
My name is Aaron Gichaba Misati from Kenya. I have a BSc degree in Environmental Health from Moi university and I am currently a MSc student in Environmental and Occupational Health at Egerton University. I am excited for this internship and would like to express my gratitude to Aquaya Institute for this opportunity. During this internship I am conducting research for my masters thesis and for eventual publication in a renowned water and sanitation journal to contribute to the scientific community. Previously, I have worked with Kenya Medical Research Institute-Center for Public Health and Research where I participated in the development of the Global Sanitation Fund for the 2013 Kenya Sanitation and Hygiene Programme and other WASH related activities.
My ultimate goal is to be a lead researcher in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector. I also envisage contributing towards the development of sustainable water and sanitation strategies. These strategies will contribute to the UN Millenium Development Goal 7c which aims at halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
I am determined to make the most out of the internship program and with researchers like Dr. Rachel Peletz, Dr. Emily Kumpel and Mr. Mateyo Bonham at the Aquaya Institute. I believe that this will not only empower my career development, but also give me the framework to utilize my full potential. I plan to use the knowledge and experience gained from this internship to come up with suitable interventions to overcome water and sanitation challenges in the world. It feels great to be part of the Aquaya team and I am looking forward to increasing my skills in research, expanding my social networks and working with Aquaya.
My name is Joyce Kisiangani and I am a Masters of Public Health student from Moi University in Kenya. I currently reside in Nairobi but I am originally from Kakamega County. I am grateful for the opportunity to work as an intern in Aquaya and am looking forward to learning from the researchers at Aquaya.
My previous research and experience in public health has led me to the internship at Aquaya. My Masters’ research is a qualitative study on the assessment of women’s knowledge, attitude and health seeking behavior of breast cancer and its screening among women in Kakamega County. I will be defending my thesis later this year and the skills that I will get from the internship at Aquaya will build my confidence in preparation for my thesis defense. I am therefore looking forward to acquiring and developing my skills in organizing, processing, analyzing and presenting qualitative data for journal publication.
Previously I was a Public Health and Environment Field Practicum Fellow with the School for Field Studies, Boston University, where I evaluated the Community Health Strategy in Kajiado County of Kenya. I have also worked as a Research Assistant with Kenya Medical Research Institute and with USAID.
The internship opportunity at Aquaya is an avenue for me to strengthen my research skills, in qualitative research, public health, and water and sanitation. I am enthusiastic to work and learn from researchers like Mateyo Bonham, Dr. Rachel Peletz and Dr. Emily Kumpel on the Monitoring for Safe Water program (MfSW). Learning from them will contribute to my long-term goal in this internship – to build my capacity in research, specifically in water and sanitation, so that I can contribute to my country’s commitment to providing safe water and improved sanitation to the local population.