Help Me Research Toilets for Those in Need!
Organized by: Kimberly Worsham
EVENT DATE Sep 01, 2017
So no one seems to ever want to talk about sanitation...or, toilets. The problem is that about a third of the world does not have access to something like a toilet. And 1.5 million kids are dying from diarrhea per year because of no toilets!
So I want to research how we can make this change, and help improve life worldwide by finding out what can bring communities to use toilets, and how we can help foster that change faster and sustainably.
My background is interesting; most people in this field are engineers, public health experts, epidemiologists, and the like. I've got a background in business, and I see this through a new, fresh lens that might help us better understand how to help communities get effective results, faster.
I got offered a scholarship for a second masters to begin researching in an interdisciplinary way at the University of Queensland! I'm super excited. The problem is, I'm an American, and the cost for living is a good amount. Can you help me pay some of the costs for my 18-month program, so that I can make this work a reality?
Some common questions you might have about this all....
Where exactly are you going? The university is in Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland in Australia.
What got you into researching water & sanitation (aka toilets)? My interest in toilets began during my graduate studies when I was consulting in rural India on a community sanitation program. Since then, I’ve found myself fascinated by everything related to sanitation. It’s not a very “sexy” topic in which to be an expert and the current research out there is pretty limited, which is why I want to jump in and help.
I am an involved board member for a local water education organization called NYC H2O. I volunteered at the nonprofit charity:water, where I researched best practices in water and sanitation and country backgrounds. My brief stint in Rwanda also had me getting exposed to sanitation education in my own classroom. I’ve found myself doing a lot of little side projects on the topic as well.
Why toilets? Because no one wants to talk about toilets! And yet, lots of people are in dire need of one. Some engineers have called it one of the greatest inventions that’s formed modern society.
What do you want to do with this degree? Ideally, I’d love to be a professor. I absolutely love teaching, and I want to be an expert in what I teach. I also really enjoy crunching numbers and looking at data, so researching outside of class sounds like fun.
But I know that university positions are limited. I also would like to consult governments and organizations around the world. I’d like to collect and interpret data they want and need in order to make important decisions. With that, I can train them in the data as well as ways to create action.
Why not go to a university in the US? I did look at a number of US universities. I found that those programs in which I was interested only admit engineers or public health experts (I am neither of those). In addition, those programs do not have the kind of interdisciplinary research I want, especially since I'm interested in consumer behavior. The only places I found doing similar work, with interest in people with like me, were in Australia and the UK. The UK did not work out -but Australia is!
When would you be going and for how long? I would go in late winter/early spring 2015, likely February or March.
The program is for 18 months straight.
How much money do you need for this program? About $30,000 for living costs total
Have you looked for other funding options? I have looked at a lot of other funding options. The main issue is that I will be an American abroad, so few funding opportunities are available. I have applied to the scholarships I have found, but those have been unsuccessful.
I plan on reaching out to companies for funding support, as I could potentially help then with markets and PR, but that is a dream option. I will also be filling out a FAFSA application, and applying for other loans to afford the tuition and living.
The professor with whom I will work has offered me to work for him part-time on grant writing, which I will gladly do to help me survive financially.
Will you be safe? Absolutely. I have every intention on having many years on my life, and I’ll be working with a team,