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Sanitation and Health

The Sanitation and Health Team at SEI works on issues related to water, sanitation and health, particularly their connections to development and environment. We conduct interdisciplinary and policy-relevant research on sanitation across a range of fields, such as environmental engineering, development and gender studies, environmental health, sustainability science and evidence synthesis. Our research and policy engagement are conducted at national, regional and local scales, particularly focused in Africa and Latin America and we participate in a range of multi-stakeholder networks such as the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance and Sanitation and Water for All.

Our work and tool development related to sanitation has several thematic focus areas. Our team works closely on all aspects of resource recovery, including its contributions to economic, social and environmental sustainability, governance aspects, and potential health benefits and risks, and engagement with concepts such as circular economy. We emphasize gender equality, social equity and poverty issues in our work, such as identifying barriers to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services faced by vulnerable groups, and approaches for measuring gender outcomes in WASH interventions.

We work across sector boundaries and make connections to many other development and environment priorities. For example, we are applying the One Health concept within WASH, working with agricultural, animal health and veterinary experts. We examine how sanitation is included in climate action, from mitigation to adaptation and services themselves to global climate policy. We also examine linkages between water, sanitation and hygiene and watershed planning at other scales. In the future, the team aims to expand our work on sanitation and health to include other areas of environmental health and interactions between sanitation health outcomes and other health outcomes examined at SEI such as air pollution.