Students organize WASH Symposium

March 13, 2013

A team of CU-Boulder students, including engineering graduate students researching water sanitation and hygiene, and Solar Biochar Toilet researchers are organizing the Colorado Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Symposium: New Perspectives in Global Sanitation March 19-20.

As part of the event, several high-level WASH experts are traveling to CU-Boulder to discuss important issues regarding water and sanitation. Among the experts are keynote speaker Eddy Perez of World Bank, Bill D. Bellamy of CH2M Hill, Ned Breslin of Water for People, Jonathan Annis of USAID’s WASHPlus Project, and Carl Hensman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The WASH Symposium will examine new approaches in urban sanitation, how local nongovernmental organizations in Colorado are handling WASH, and the intersection of nongovernmental organizations and local government in WASH. Attendees can also expect to discover how to engage the private sector in market-based approaches, innovative methods of sanitation value chain, and sustainable solutions for rural water supply and sanitation.

“The WASH Symposium provides a platform for practitioners and academics alike to collaborate and develop a network that will further the WASH sector,” says student organizer Lia Brune. “There are so many of us in Colorado working on WASH projects, why not work together as a collaborative to make our efforts more effective?”

Jami Nelson-Nunez, Ph.D. political science student; Rita Claire Klees, assistant professor; Karl Linden, professor and lead researcher of the Solar Biochar Toilet, a project aimed at developing a sanitary toilet for developing countries; and are overseeing the organizational efforts by students.

“We are excited to hold the first Colorado WASH symposium and bring together local and international expertise in this sector to the CU-Boulder campus,” says student organizer Simón Mostafa. “The goals of the symposium are in line with other CU initiatives and projects, such as the Engineering for Developing Communities program and Engineers Without Borders, among many others. Just like you need to collaborate with communities to ensure a successful project abroad, a strong community of experts, practitioners and informed supporters here at home is necessary to drive appropriate development interventions.

“Both failure and success stories will be brought up as well as fresh ideas and new approaches to addressing common issues faced by WASH practitioners on the ground. Thus, we aspire to  improve current practices and approaches in the WASH sector by bringing together the collective knowledge and creativity of local and visiting members of the WASH community.”

Registration is required to attend, which can be completed at https://sites.google.com/site/coloradowashsymposium/.