According to UN statistics, 2.5 billion people throughout the world do not have access to improved sanitation, and 1 billion people practice open defecation. The UN developed the Millennium Development Goals, one of which was to reduce the number of people without access to potable water and basic sanitation by 50%. The drinking water goal was achieved in 2010, but the sanitation goal was not. The world’s attention is now centered on the Sustainable Development Goals related to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene. The lack of success in meeting WaSH needs in developing countries highlights the complexity of the water and sanitation challenges. The interconnected impacts of culture, economics, policy, and human behavior on water and sanitation issues make it extremely complicated. A cross-disciplinary team is necessary to address water and sanitation issues around the world.
“Global WaSH will position NC State as a leader in conducting critical research and teaching in water and sanitation issues. The research and teaching will be anchored on community-based projects located in developing countries. The scholarship will reflect the complexities of resource constraints, human aspirations and culture in developing countries. Several factors combine to make Global WaSH a promising and rich area of teaching, research and service excellence for NC State:
- This ‘wicked’ problem encompasses and requires expertise in several disciplines where we excel.
- The realization of the scale, magnitude, and complexity of the water and sanitation problem has drawn international agencies and national governments to increase their resolve to face the challenge.
- The students of today and tomorrow are increasingly aware of, and drawn to, human health, environmental and social justice issues. Students have a strong sense of purpose, and see themselves as positive agents of change in the global community. Service learning and community involvement are recognized strengths of NC State that can attract top students from all over the U.S. and the world.”